With both programs entering the matchup with 60 head-to-head wins, it was only fitting that 60 minutes wouldn’t be enough to find a winner between the Briar Cliff and Northwestern men’s basketball teams. In the end, the Red Raiders left the Newman Flanagan Center with the 85-83 victory Wednesday night.
Early in the game, it looked like the visitors would cruise to a victory as nine minutes into the game Austin Roetman was 2-for-2 shooting with a pair of 3-pointers but the rest of the Blue and Gold combined for 0-for-9 shooting and Northwestern led 18-6.
Roetman’s play in the first half kept BC alive as he tallied 15 points in the first 20 minutes. The Chargers got within two points after a pair of free throws by Roetman before a late basket sent the Red Raiders to the break leading 38-34. Roetman finished the game with 23 points, second on the team behind Jackson Lamb‘s 24. Lamb finished with a double-double as he had 12 boards. Sammy Green and Conner Groves also finished in double figures with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
“I thought our guys really battled tonight, especially after being in an early deficit,” BC head coach Mark Svagera said.
The Chargers kept the game close early in the second half but struggled to get over the hump to even the score. Finally with 7:49 to play in the second half, Lamb got a bucket in the paint to give his team its first lead of night as he capped off a 3-point play to make it 60-58. The two teams would go back-and-forth the rest of the way with six ties as Briar Cliff had a prime opportunity to close it out with a four point lead and less than a minute to play.
Northwestern’s last points of the regulation though came on a 3-pointer by Trent Hilbrands with a foul as the four-point play evened the score with 48 seconds to go. Neither team was able to hit a shot on the final possessions as the teams headed to overtime tied at 76. Hilbrands ended the night as the leading scorer among all players with 25.
Briar Cliff won the opening tip of the extra frame and quickly got a 3-pointer from Lamb, but Northwestern responded with the game’s next five points as BC was unable to regain a lead. The Chargers had a couple of opportunities to tie or take the lead late and the game ended with Lamb at the free throw line for two shots but looking at a three-point deficit. The Emil S. Liston Award winner made the first and intentionally missed the second with .4 seconds on the clock but Craig Sterk was able to secure the rebound and the Red Raider victory.
Offensive rebounds were tough to come by for BC as the Chargers only recorded two on the night. Meanwhile the Red Raiders tallied 11 offensive boards that turned in to 16 second-chance points. Sterk finished with 12 rebounds on the night to go along with 12 points as Jay Small also had a double-double for Northwestern with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“We’re frustrated and disappointed in the ending,” Svagera noted. “But I’m confident our guys will bounce back ready to compete at a high level this weekend.”
The Chargers will need to come ready to play in their next contest as the team travels across town to take on #2 Morningside. The Mustangs are undefeated on the season, meanwhile Briar Cliff dropped its fourth straight and sits at 1-4 in the GPAC and 7-4 overall. The Red Raiders, who are receiving votes in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll, improved to 9-2 with the win and have a 3-1 record in the conference.
The Briar Cliff women’s basketball team started on fire trying to knock off the 11th-ranked Red Raiders of Northwestern, but a disastrous third quarter for the Chargers helped Northwestern to a 75-56 win Wednesday night in the Newman Flanagan Center.
The opening few minutes actually went the way of the visitors as Northwestern led 13-8 with 3:04 to play in the first quarter. Briar Cliff responded by scoring the final 10 points of the frame to lead 18-13 at the first intermission.
The Blue and Gold kept the run going as Kalena Asbill recorded a steal that turned into an Alyssa Carley layup to make it a dozen straight points for BC as the Chargers would lead by as many as eight at the midway point of the quarter. The Red Raiders then had a 12-point run of their own to go up four in the final minute of the half. Brenna Allen hit a late 3-pointer to close to gap back to one but Northwestern would never look back as the Cliff never even as much as tied the contest in the second half.
“We played hard and I was proud of our effort, but I was disappointed in our execution on offense,” said BC head coach Mike Power. “I feel like our offense is slowly growing, but we are learning some hard lessons on this journey. I think we got better tonight.”
Madelyn Deitchler had a solid performance for the Cliff as she recorded a double-double before fouling out. Deitchler scored 10 points and hauled in 10 rebounds. Konnor Sudmann led the Chargers in scoring on the night with 14 to go along with three assists. Shannon Sokolowski put up eight points in the loss and Payton Slaughter led the team in assists with four.
Five Red Raiders reached double figures as Alexis Toering topped all players in points with 15. She was joined in double digits by Jada Cunningham (13), Taylor VanderVelde (12), Sammy Blum (12) and Bre Schuiteman (10). Northwestern has 21 assists on 24 total field goals as Cunningham, VanderVelde and Blum all had four assists.
Briar Cliff also distribute the ball well with 13 assists on 19 field goals, but the Cliff turned it over 23 times. Northwestern finished with 22 turnovers.
Briar Cliff dropped to 2-7 with the loss as the Chargers are 1-4 in GPAC competition. Northwestern is now 8-1 overall and 4-1 in league play. All of the losses for the Chargers have come against ranked opponents but as is the case in the GPAC, another top-25 foe awaits the Blue and Gold. Briar Cliff’s next contest comes against #8 Morningside at 4 p.m. Saturday at Allee Gym in Sioux City.