Defending Champions Pushed To The Limit In Two-Point Win
by Matt Bos-Media Coordinator
Point Lookout, Mo.- (Box Score) Another match-up between teams with long tournament history took place in Friday’s second round. Defending champion Indiana Wesleyan was pushed to the limit but late free throws put the Wildcats into the quarterfinals with a 77-75 win over No.4 Northwestern College (Iowa).
Tied at 75 after Northwestern junior guard Colton Kooima drained a long three-pointer with 26 seconds left, Indiana Wesleyan guard Joel Okafor drew a foul after a hard drive and made 1-of-2 free throws with two seconds left. The Red Raiders turned it over on the inbounds pass and after a foul, Ben Carlson made one free throw for the game’s final point.
Indiana Wesleyan improved to 8-1 in second round games and advance to play in its fourth consecutive quarterfinal. The defending champions improve to 29-7 heading into Saturday’s match-up against either No.2 Robert Morris (Ill.) or No. 6 Tabor (Kan.)
Championship-tested seniors Bob Peters and Lane Mahurin carried the load offensively for IWU, scoring 22 and 21 points, respectively.
Indiana Wesleyan opened up an early seven-point lead (18-11) only to have Northwestern fire off 14 straight points, 12 on four three-pointers by Riley Francis (1), Parker Mulder (1) and Colton Kooima (2). With the Red Raiders still up seven (38-31), IWU scored the final five points of the half, the final on a three-pointer by Peters, to cut the lead down to 38-36.
The Wildcats continued their run into the opening minutes of the second half, outscoring Northwestern 11-2 to retake the lead 47-40. IWU stayed in front, never by more than seven, until a Mulder three-pointer knotted the game at 64.
Indiana Wesleyan responded with the next eight points and seemingly put the Red Raider out of it with four minutes left. Northwestern charged right back and tied it again (72-72) with another Mulder three-pointer. Both teams knocked down three’s, one by Peters for IWU and Kooima for NW for another tie at 75, setting up the final drive that sent Okafor to the line with two seconds left.
Kooima led Northwestern with 21 points, knocking down five three-pointers, including a couple from 26+ feet. Derek Buysse scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Mulder added 11. The Red Raiders held a huge edge on the glass, 46-26. Northwestern ends the season with a 27-6 record.
IWU shot 46% for the game and from beyond the arc (10/22).
For more information on the national championship, click here. To watch the live video stream, go to NAIANetwork.com.