ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Midland University’s men’s basketball has become accustomed to playing tightly-contested games in 2018-19, and Saturday’s conference showdown was no different.
The Warriors (5-7, 3-4 GPAC) escaped a back-and-forth game with the Northwestern College Red Raiders (7-6, 2-4 GPAC) with a 74-73 win on Saturday. It’s already the eighth game decided by single-digit points for the Warriors this season.
Junior Bryce Parsons led the Warriors with 21 points on 9-15 shooting from the field. The versatile leader for Midland did a little bit of everything in the game, finishing with six rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
Two other Warriors finished in double-figures, including senior Reggie Gradwell who finished with 10 points, seven of which came in the crucial minutes of the second half. Off the bench, freshman Dillon Faubel contributed 13 points, including being 5-6 from the free throw line.
Midland had to battle its way back in the second half to come away with the win, but the first half played out a lot differently.
The Warriors actually took control of the game midway through the first half, growing a lead that reached as many as 19 points with seven minutes to go before the break. Midland used a 16-2 run to take a commanding 31-12 lead.
After the run, the Red Raiders began chipping away at the Midland lead and shrunk the margin to just seven points at halftime. In the final seven minutes of the first half, Northwestern outscored the Warriors 18-6.
Northwestern carried its newfound momentum into the second half on an 11-0 run in the first five minutes to take a 41-37 lead. A basket from Isaiah Workman ended the scoring drought for the Warriors and actually sparked a 7-0 run that allowed Midland to briefly regain the lead before Bowen Sandquist traded three-point baskets with Jay Small to tie the game at 44-44.
For the remainder of the game, the score stayed close as teams continued to trade baskets and defensive stops. The biggest lead for Northwestern was an eight-point advantage with just under six minutes to play in the game.
The Warriors trailed by seven points with four minutes to play, but managed to go on a 10-0 run that started with a free throw from Parsons. On back-to-back possessions, Sandquist steals led to baskets for Parsons and Gradwell before a basket from Fauble gave the Warriors a 69-68 lead with a minute and a half to play.
After a missed free throw for Northwestern, another basket for Parsons pushed Midland’s lead to 71-68 with 30 seconds to go. Isaac Heyer made two free throws for the Red Raiders to bring the score to 71-70 as Northwestern sent Faubel to the line.
Faubel made one of his two attempts, leaving Northwestern a chance to tie or take the lead. A three-pointer for Grant Demeulenaere missed and the Warriors corralled the rebound.
At the other end, Workman sank a pair of important free throws to make it 74-70 in favor of Midland before a last-second heave for Trent Hilbrands went in, making the final score 74-73.
Free throws helped the Warriors escape the crazy up-and-down game with a win, but shot just 61.9 percent (13-21) from the line in the game. In fact, most team statistics were pretty even between Midland and Northwestern, as the only real advantage the Warriors had was in bench points, outscoring the Red Raider reserves 33-23.
Midland ended a three-game skid in dramatic fashion. They’ll use this upcoming week to complete course work and finals as they prepare for No. 21 Dordt (9-5, 3-4 GPAC). The Warriors are set to host the Defenders at Wikert Event Center on Saturday, December 15, at 4:00 p.m.