MADISON, S.D. - In the battle of last year's NAIA Division II Men's Basketball national qualifiers Tuesday evening at DSU Fieldhouse, Northwestern (Iowa) jumped to a 16-point halftime lead. Dakota State used a late second-half rally but fell short to the nationally-ranked Northwestern 78-70.
Dakota State suffered their first defeat of the season and dropped their overall record to 1-1. Northwestern, No. 7 in the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball Coaches' Preseason national poll, raised their record to 2-1.
There were a total of three ties and five lead changes in the first 11 minutes and 20 seconds of the game. With NWIA leading at 20-19 with 8:20 remaining before intermission, the Red Raiders scored 10 straight points to earn a 29-19 lead with 5:43 left in the first-half.
Northwestern extended their lead to 43-27 at halftime. The Red Raiders shot 16-for-32 (50 percent) from the field, while the Trojans were 27.3 percent from the field (9-for-33) in the first-half.
The Red Raiders maintained their double-digits lead throughout the second-half until DSU mounted a late rally in closing minutes. With NWIA leading 70-53 with less than nine minutes left in the game, the Trojans used a 17-6 scoring run to trim their deficit to 76-70 with 32 seconds remaining.
NWIA secured the victory as Stu Goslinga made a fast-break lay-up with 24 seconds left.
Luke Lamb recorded a double-double for the Trojans. He scored 20 points on his 6-for-12 shooting from the field (including 3-for-5 from the 3-point line) and 5-for-5 from the free-throw line. Lamb grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. Terrell Newton added 14 points off the bench. He had eight rebounds. Marcus Smith had 10 points. Keith Lee II recorded nine points.
Lee II and Newton each dished out five assists for DSU. Yusuf Vinson had two blocked shots.
Zach Leepere poured in 29 points for the Red Raiders. He was 10-for-17 from the field, including 7-for-10 from the 3-point arc. Ben Miller added 13 points. Goslinga had a double-double of 11 points and earned 10 rebounds.
Miller recorded five assists for NWIA.
Northwestern shot 50 percent overall from the field in the game (29-for-58). The Trojans struggled with a 33.3 percent shooting from the field (21-for-63).
DSU converted 21 free-throws in 25 attempts (84 percent) compared to the Red Raiders' 11-for-14 from the free-throw line (78.6 percent).
NWIA outrebounded the Trojans 43-30.
The Red Raiders committed 24 turnovers in the game, while DSU had 18 turnovers. The Trojans outscored Northwestern 26-11 in points off turnovers.
Prior to the men's basketball game, DSU Athletics presented the championship banner for the 2011-12 Trojan men's basketball team. DSU captured the 2012 Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Division II conference postseason tournament and qualified for the NAIA National Tournament last March.
Dakota State continues their four-game home stand on Saturday afternoon. The Trojans look to bounce back in the winning column as they host their in-state rival Dakota Wesleyan. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. at DSU Fieldhouse.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director