DWU men fall to No. 7 Northwestern

Carde Pennington from DWU.

Carde Pennington

Mike Lee from DWU.

Mike Lee

Aireus Stephenson from DWU.

Aireus Stephenson

ORANGE CITY, Iowa – The Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team had No. 7 Northwestern College on the ropes Wednesday night, but the Red Raiders made plays down the stretch and a last-second three by the Tigers came up short in DWU’s 77-74 loss in Orange City, Iowa.

Dakota Wesleyan – which led much of the first half and took a one-point lead with 1:23 to play – are now 9-10 overall and 4-6 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. The Red Raiders, who are alone in first in the conference, improved to 14-4 overall and 8-2 in the league.

Northwestern led by six, 68-62, with 5:37 left to play Wednesday night, but Luke Bamberg scored and Mike Lee hit a three to make it a two-point game with 3:27 remaining. Kris Menning hit a free throw and Aireus Stephenson scored on a jumper to make it a one-point game, 71-70, with 2:03 left, and Bamberg hit a pair of free throws with 1:23 left in the game to put the Tigers up one, 72-71.

Daniel Van Kalsbeek hit a jumper and Ben Miller hit a pair of free throws to put the Raiders up three, 75-72, but Carde Pennington scored to cut the game to one, 75-74, with 15 seconds left. Van Kalsbeek hit both his free throws after being fouled with 12 seconds left, and DWU turned the ball over on its next trip down the floor. Northwestern answered with a turnover of its own with just over a second on the clock, but a last-second, half-court three by Menning came up short.

The Red Raiders scored the first basket of the game, but from there Dakota Wesleyan was able to maintain a lead throughout the first half. Menning hit a three to give the Tigers an early four-point lead, and DWU made it a 10-point game, 30-20 on a layup by Jalen Voss and a three by Lee with 6:54 left in the first half. Northwestern answered with a 13-3 run to tie the game at 33-33 with 2:05 left in the half, and the Raiders held a 35-34 lead at halftime.

A three by Pennington tied the game at 46-46 seven minutes into the second half, but Northwestern was able to maintain a slim lead much of the second half en route to the win.

Lee finished with 20 points to pace Dakota Wesleyan, which shot 43.3 percent from the field and hit eight 3-pointers. Pennington finished with 17 points and went 3-for-3 from long range and Stephenson added 10 points. Voss had seven rebounds and Stephenson also had eight assists. DWU went 8-for-15 from the field and had 31 rebounds and 13 turnovers.

Miller finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists to lead Northwestern, which shot 47.3 percent from the field but didn’t hit a single 3-pointer. Van Kalsbeek also had 19 points and Stu Goslinga added 14. Zack Leeper added nine rebounds. The Raiders went 25-for-31 from the line and had 36 rebounds and 15 turnovers.

Dakota Wesleyan is on the road again Sunday, Jan. 13, when it travels to Hastings, Neb., to take on Hastings College.