By Matt Bos, NAIA Media Coordinator
POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. - Ninth-seed Northwestern (Iowa) rolled to a 95-69 win over Tennessee Wesleyan in the first game of the opening round of the 2012 NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship. The 2012 event is held at the Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of College of the Ozarks (Mo.).
Northwestern blistered the nets, shooting 59% from the floor and made 9-of-18 3-point attempts. Six Red Raider players scored in double figures, led by Zack Leeper with 18 points, followed by a 16-point effort by both Daniel Van Kalsbeek and Ryan Stock.
The Red Raiders led from the start, opening up an 11-2 lead before back-to-back three-pointers put Tennessee Wesleyan within two, 16-14. Northwestern pushed the lead back up to 13 by halftime, 42-29, after a 15-4 run.
Northwestern went up by 20 early in the second half, sparked by four three-pointers by Stock and 11 points by Leeper in the final 20 minutes. The Red Raiders dominated the boards, 43-15, led by Stu Goslinga (7) and Stock (6).
"My teammates did a nice job of attacking with the dribble which gets us open looks on the perimeter," commented Northwestern guard Ryan Stock. "We shot the ball with confidence all game long."
Tennessee Wesleyan shot 40% for the game and was led by freshman Shannon Smith with 20 points, going 5-for-7 from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs end the season with a 24-10 overall record.
Northwestern moves on to the second round with a 26-6 record and will play the winner of eighth-seed Northwest (Wash.) or defending champion Cornerstone (Mich.) on Friday at 4:00 p.m. CST.