ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Midland University’s men’s basketball team put together a full effort on Saturday afternoon, but fell just short of a comeback victory to put an end to a two-game winning streak.
The Warriors (9-16, 5-13 GPAC) erased a 14-point deficit but never managed to lead in a close 76-73 loss to the Northwestern Red Raiders (20-8, 12-6 GPAC).
“Our guys did a great job of battling all night,” said Midland head coach Oliver Drake. We could’ve given in multiple times with some early game struggles, but our guys dug in with great responses and stayed the course.”
Freshman forward Samuel Mailloux led the Warriors on the comeback trail with a career-high 20 points while adding six rebounds and two blocks. After the Red Raiders steadily built a 14-point lead during the first half of play, Mailloux scored the final 14 points of the first half for Midland, including three three-pointers in the final two and a half minutes.
Mailloux’s streak cut the deficit to just seven points at half, and the Warriors carried that momentum into the second half and cut the lead to only two points after a pair of three-pointers from freshman Kylan Smallwood and sophomore Bowen Sandquist.
Shortly after, Grant Rohrer scored six straight points for Northwestern to get the lead back to double digits. Ten points proved to be the largest lead of the game from that point on, but the Red Raiders kept the Warriors at bay and held a two possession lead for much of the next 10 minutes.
With four minutes to play, Mailloux knocked down his sixth three-pointer of the game to cut the lead to four. After the three, the Warriors held the Red Raiders scoreless for nearly two and half minutes, and back-to-back buckets from junior Laurence Merritt tied the game at 72-72 with two minutes to play.
The tie was the first tie the game had seen since a 7-7 score early in the first half.
Craig Sterk gave Northwestern the lead back on the next possession, but the Warriors couldn’t find another bucket. Midland misfired on its next three field goal attempts and was forced to foul with 12 seconds to play.
After a pair of free throws from Grant Demeulenaere, freshman Jake Rueschhoff drove to the hoop and drew a foul with seven seconds to play. Rueschhoff missed on his first attempt but was successful on his second shot to cut the lead back to three.
Out of a timeout, Rueschhoff deflected the inbounds pass off of a Red Raider to set the Warriors up with a chance to tie the game with four seconds to play. Having to inbound the ball at an awkward angle from the corner, Sandquist was forced to catch the pass from Rueschhoff in traffic, and his deep three-pointer at the buzzer fell short as the Red Raiders narrowly survived on their home court.
“We had multiple opportunities to take the lead late, but we just came up short,” Drake said.
Sandquist finished with 11 points but was unable to hit the big one at the end, which is a credit to the Northwestern defense that had the Warriors well-covered on the final play. Smallwood (15) and Merritt (12) also finished in double figures while Rueschhoff, despite scoring just six points, added two assists, three steals, and a remarkable career-high 12 rebounds.
Sterk led the Red Raiders with 22 points as Rohrer came off the bench to add 18. Jay Small totaled just eight points but grabbed a stellar 19 rebounds to go with three assists and two steals.
The close loss ends a two-game winning streak and undoubtedly stings for the guys in the locker room, but their ability to overcome a first-half deficit and battle hard on the road further proves the point that Drake has harped on since late December; the team’s getting better, and they’re refusing to get outworked.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our group and the growth they have shown,” Drake said. We are heading into the last week of GPAC laser focused on getting better together.”
The Warriors conclude their regular season slate next week with home games on Wednesday and Saturday. Midland starts on Wednesday, Feb. 19, with an 8:00 p.m. game versus the (RV) Concordia Bulldogs. Concordia beat Midland 95-71 in the GPAC opener back on November 12.
ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Midland University’s women’s basketball team wrapped up the road portion of its regular-season with a Great Plains Athletic Conference matchup against (RV) Northwestern College on Saturday afternoon in Orange City, Iowa. The Warriors led by as many as 13 in the first half, but the Red Raiders rallied in the second half for a come-from-behind win.
The loss halts a three-game winning streak for the Warriors and drops the team to 11-17 overall with a 7-13 record in the GPAC. Northwestern improves to 16-9 on the year and 11-9 in the league.
Midland shot 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the field compared to 45.2 percent (28-of-62) for Northwestern. The Red Raiders outrebounded the Warriors 42-31, but the Warriors won the turnover battle after committing just nine and forcing 15. Midland’s bench provided a spark with 29 points on the afternoon.
Junior Makenna Sullivan and senior Amanda Hansen each recorded 16 points, while sophomore Lexis Haase was good for 13 points. Junior Katy Gathje had six rebounds to lead the team and was followed by Sullivan who came away with five. Senior Maddie Meadows had a team-best three assists to go along with five points.
Sullivan got the Warriors on the board with a three early in the opening quarter and would drop in a layup moments later to knot things up at 5-5 with seven minutes to go. The teams would play even through the middle part of the quarter before a three from Sam Shepard had Midland up 12-10 with 1:46 to go. Sullivan would keep her strong quarter going with a layup to extend the lead before a late jumper by Northwestern brought the score to 14-12 heading into the second quarter.
A flurry of points opened the second quarter as neither team could miss a shot. Midland came out of the offensive explosion leading 24-20 with six minutes to go. A Red Raider turnover would allow for back-to-back threes from Hansen and Haase to extend the lead to 30-20 with five minutes remaining. Late free throws from Hansen saw the largest lead of the day for the Warriors, but a three for Northwestern saw the score at 39-29 going into the break.
Northwestern came out of the locker room ready to make up for early troubles and pulled within four mid-way through the third quarter. Hansen looked to give her team a spark with a jumper, but a nine-point run gave Northwestern the 48-45 lead with 2:54 to go. Freshman Kara Jennings came off the bench a dropped in a layup to give the Warriors a narrow 49-48 lead with just over two minutes to go. The score would be even three more times down the stretch, but a three at the buzzer gave Northwestern a 55-52 edge heading into the final ten minutes of action.
The Red Raiders would pull ahead for their largest lead of the afternoon before a layup from Sullivan brought the score to 60-55 with 8:17 remaining. Sullivan and Hansen would combine for five points to tie things up at 60-60 before four-straight saw Northwestern reclaim the lead. The Warriors wouldn’t go down without a fight as a three from Sam Shepard had Midland down 74-71 with :24 to go. Northwestern would lock down on defense in the final seconds to pull away with the 78-71 victory.
Midland (11-17, 7-13 GPAC) returns to Wikert Event Center for a GPAC matchup with No. 3 Concordia University on Wednesday, February 19 at 6:00 p.m.