Defenders fall to Northwestern in nail-biting finish

Calleb Pollema — Staff Writer

With only seven games remaining on both the men and women’s basketball schedules for the 2018-2019 regular season, the Defenders faced an all familiar foe on Wednesday night—the Northwestern Red Raiders.

In the women’s game, Northwestern jumped out to an early 9-0 lead, but the Defenders finished the first quarter on a 12-7 run, closing the lead 16-12. However, Northwestern once again pulled ahead to take a 35-28 lead in the second half.

Dordt held tough in the second half and took a 70-69 lead in the final minutes of the game; however, several empty possessions ultimately cost the Defenders as Northwestern ended the game on an 8-0 run. The Red Raiders came away with the 77-70 victory.

“We had the 70-69 lead and we came up empty on three or four possessions in a row,” said Coach Harmsen. “That’s something that when you’re playing a great team that you can’t have happen.”

Despite the loss, the Defenders are still poised to finish the end of the conference slate strong with four of their final six games against teams in the bottom half of the GPAC.

The Dordt men were also challenged on Wednesday night by Northwestern and fell by a final score of 89-80.

The Red Raiders got out to a 24-7 lead midway through the first half and that was simply a margin that the Defenders could not overcome as Northwestern kept the lead for the rest of the game.

Zach Bussard led the Defenders with 19 points and seven rebounds. Chad Barkema added 17 points and six rebounds.

Northwestern held Dordt’s offense in check by holding the Defenders to only a 38 percent shooting rate throughout the night.

In turn, the Defenders could not stop the hot-shooting Red Raiders who shot a 54 percent rate during the evening.

Dordt Basketball

Contributed Photo

“Tonight we couldn’t get stops,” said Coach Van Haaften. “Northwestern made shots and I just didn’t think we were great tonight. We weren’t tough enough tonight to get the stops we needed. Northwestern can spread the floor—they have five shooters on the floor at all times. We have to take advantage around the basket—Zach Bussard had a good game in the paint but we didn’t shoot the ball well as a team tonight.”

With the loss, the Defenders fell to 15-9 and 7-7 in GPAC play.

Both the men’s and women’s teams are eager for the rest of the season and the opportunity to compete in the postseason.

“We can beat any team that we play,” said sophomore guard Jesse Jansma. “We just can’t lay an egg the rest of the way.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams will look to bounce back this Wednesday at Concordia. The women’s game will tip at 6 p.m. and the men’s game is set for an 8 p.m. start.

The Defenders will return to the DeWitt on Saturday, February 2 against the Doane Tigers. The women’s game will started at 2 p.m. followed by the men’s game at 4 p.m.

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