For the second straight year, the Southwestern men's basketball team has opened up the second half of the season against a ranked NJCAA Division I foe. Last year it was on their home court in a 102-91 victory over Indian Hills. This year it was on the road, Tuesday, Jan. 9, against Southeastern, with a final score of 80-69.
After a sluggish start for both teams, during the first eight minutes of action the Spartans pushed to a 23-13 lead, but a 14-3 Blackhawk run gave them a 27-26 advantage. Khallid Edwards nailed his third trey of the first half with just seconds remaining to give Southwestern a 37-33 lead at the half.
"I wish we had more sureness offensively early in the first half, but after that we did a good job of making simple plays for ourselves and others, which led to many quality looks," said Spartan Head Coach Todd Lorensen.
The second half was much of the same, except the closest the Blackhawks got was within one point. They also cut it to four points on multiple occasions later in the half, but back-to-back three-pointers and four free throws down the stretch by D'Marqueyon Whittington sealed the victory.
"Our staff and players have seen him make shots consistently so it didn't surprise us," stated Lorensen. "His teammates did a good job of setting him up and he was wide open with his feet set. He will make most of those opportunities."
Edwards scored all 14 points in the first half and had nine assists to just one turnover while playing all 40 minutes. Terence Shelby led the way with 18 points, Whittington had 16 points, and Chad Moran had 15 points. Shelby had 11 rebounds for a double-double and Moran added seven boards.
"It's encouraging because we did a lot of things very well, yet there are many things we can improve drastically as well," explained Lorensen. "This was a good game to prepare us for a grueling conference season."
Southwestern opens up conference play on Saturday, Jan. 13, as they host Iowa Lakes Community College at 3 p.m. Iowa Lakes was selected to finish third in the preseason coaches' poll, just behind Southwestern who was selected second. Iowa Lakes garnered three first-place votes to Southwestern's two.