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Game Time...Northwestern College plays host to 11th-ranked Morningside in a key GPAC men's basketball match-up. Tip-off at the Bultman Center is scheduled for 8pm. Northwestern has won two straight and five of its last six games to move up to sixth place in the GPAC with a 5-5 record, 12-6 overall. Morningside has won three straight and is currently in fourth place in the GPAC with a 8-3 record, 16-3 overall. Watch/listen live to the game via the NWC webcast at the following link: Watch/Listen Now! or listen to the game via the KSOU broadcast at this link: Listen Now!
All-Time...Northwestern has dropped its last five games to the Mustangs but still leads the all-time series, 20-15.
Last Time vs Morningside...Kyle Nikkel knocked down a jumper just before time expired in leading 12th-ranked Morningside to a last-second 84-82 win over Northwestern in a GPAC men's basketball match-up played Nov. 25.
Down by as many as 10 in the second half, Northwestern rallied with a late 13-5 run and tied the game at 82 after a jumper by Nathan Wedel with seven seconds left to play. Morningside quickly inbounded and called timeout once the ball passed into the front court with just under four seconds left. At midcourt, the Mustangs' threw a long inbound pass to Nikkel near their basket, who turned and hit the game-winner and was fouled with less than a second left to go. Nikkel missed the free throw and the final horn sounded before the Red Raiders could attempt a full-court shot.
T.J. Buyert scored a career-high 24 points in leading the Northwestern scoring effort, knocking down 7-of-8 three-point attempts. The junior also pulled down seven rebounds. Wedel added 13 points, including eight of his team's final 10 points during the final 90 seconds.
Northwestern shot 52% both from the field and from beyond the arc, making 11-of-21 three-point attempts.
Morningside shot 41% for the game and 44% from the three-point line. Steve O'Neill scored a game-high 27 points, making 5-of-8 three-point attempts. Nikkel scored nine and pulled down eight rebounds.
Scouting Morningside...The Mustangs have won three straight and moved up one spot to 11th in this week's NAIA D-II coaches' poll. They are in fourth place in the GPAC with an 8-3 record, 16-3 overall, and own wins over Doane, Grace and Hastings since losing to Dordt 86-64 on Jan. 7.
Head coach Jim Sykes has been in charge of the Mustang's program since the 2003-04 season. In his 12 years on the bench, Sykes has won over 200 games and owns a 65% winning percentage, the best in the program's history. Last year, Sykes led Morningside to a second place finish in the GPAC (16-4) and to the GPAC postseason title. They qualified for their fourth NAIA national tournament since Sykes took over in 2003-04, losing in the first round to Oklahoma Wesleyan and ending with a 25-9 record. Four starters and 10 players return off last year's squad.
Morningside averages 85 points per game and is fourth in the GPAC in both field goal percentage (48%) and three-point percentage (39%). Defensively, the Mustangs are giving up 74 points per game.
Steve O'Neill leads the Mustangs in scoring, averaging 17.6 points per game. An all-conference pick last year, O'Neill also leads the team in three-pointers (41) and assists (65). Kyle Nikkel averages 12 points and a team-best 5.8 rebounds per contest, shooting better than 70% from the field. Andrew Christen and Ryan Tegtmeier also average in double figures at 10.7 and 10.6 points per game, respectively.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders have won two straight and five of their last six games to move up to sixth place in the GPAC with a 5-5 record, 12-6 overall. They have wins over Doane, Concordia and Dordt in conference play along with wins over Bethseda and University of Fraser Valley during this 5-1 stretch. Their lone setback was on the road against #3 Dakota Wesleyan.
Northwestern is one of the top scoring teams in the NAIA, ranking fifth with a 90.2 points per game average. They are ninth in the NAIA in both field goal percentage (50%) and three-point percentage (40%). Defensively, the Red Raiders are giving up 81 points per game and are the top rebounding team in the nation (+12.5).
Colton Kooima leads a balanced offense, averaging 15.5 points per game. The freshman leads the team with 51 three-pointers and has scored in double figures 15 times this season. Jordan Baker scores 13.6 points and leads the GPAC in rebounding, pulling down 9.2 per contest. Nathan Wedel averages 12.6 points per game and leads the team with 62 assists. Taylor Francis (9.7) and Isaiah Taylor (9.3) are the other top scorers.
Up Next...The Red Raiders will head to Lincoln, Neb. to play Nebraska Wesleyan in a GPAC match-up on Saturday, Jan. 24 at 4pm.
# 32 | Forward
Senior from Sioux Falls, S.D.
# 5 | Guard
Junior from Sioux Falls, S.D.
# 22 | Guard
Junior from Yale, S.D.