The Northwestern College men’s basketball team shot a blistering 70% in the second half to pull away from 18th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan 86-73 in a conference match-up Wednesday night at the Bultman Center.
The Raiders improve to 7-5 in the GPAC, 12-5 overall, and handed Dakota Wesleyan to its second consecutive loss. The Tigers fall to second in the current GPAC standings at 9-2, 13-3 overall.
Up by two at halftime (45-43), Northwestern showcased remarkable efficiency on offense in outscoring the Tigers 41-30 in the second half. The Raiders shot 70% and missed only seven shot attempts as they built up and sustained a double-digit lead for the majority of the final 20 minutes.
Isaac Heyer finished off a 13-4 Northwestern run at the start of the second half to give the hosts a 58-47 advantage at the 16-minute mark. A Craig Sterk basket with 8:54 left gave the Raiders their largest lead, 72-57, and DWU would not get closer than 10 the rest of the way.
Alex Van Kalsbeek and Trent Hilbrands pumped in 19 points each and Craig Sterk recorded his second consecutive double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Van Kalsbeek was near perfect from the field, knocking down 9-of-10 field goal attempts. Jay Small gave Head Coach Kris Korver’s squad four players in double figures with 14 points to go with six rebounds.
Northwestern shot 61% for the game, 60% (6/10) from the arc, and held a commanding 37-28 edge on the boards.
Van Kalsbeek finished off an early 12-0 Northwestern run that put the hosts in front 18-7 with 11:33 left in the opening half. With the Raiders still by 11 (34-23) after a three-pointer by Small, Dakota Wesleyan began its best stretch as they closed the gap to two by halftime, 45-43.
Dakota Wesleyan shot 44% for the game and was led by Koln Oppold with 20 points and Teegan Evers with 12.
Alex Van Kalsbeek has scored in double figures in a team-high 16 games this season
Craig Sterk now has three double-doubles this season, seven for his career; Sterk matched his career high in rebounds