Ben Sitzmann hit his first field goal of the game with 1:03 left in regulation and it was a big one as it broke open a tie game and gave Briar Cliff a 65-62 lead and the Chargers would go on to a 69-62 victory over Nebraska Wesleyan in GPAC men's basketball action on Wednesday night (Nov. 30) at Snyder Arena in Lincoln, Neb.
Nebraska Wesleyan committed a turnover on their next possession and the Chargers iced the game by hitting 4-4 at the free throw line to improve to 7-3 overall, 2-2 in GPAC, while the Prairie Wolves fall to 4-2, 0-2 GPAC as they lose their conference home opener for the sixth straight season.
The game was tightly contested the whole way with 11 lead changes and nine ties.
NWU led by three at halftime, 32-29, and jumped out to a quick eight point lead less than a minute into the first half as Eric Jackson knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers. That would be the largest lead of the game for either team. Briar Cliff's largest lead would be the final margin of seven points.
It was a battle between two guards for a while as NWU's Eric Jackson and BCU's Jake Shipley were going head-to-head. Shipley led all scorers with 26 points to go along with eight rebounds. Jackson nailed five 3-pointers on the way to his career high of 20 points to lead the Prairie Wolves.
Free throws were also a deciding factor in the game as Briar Cliff outscored NWU by six points at the charity stripe. The Prairie Wolves shot only 57.1 percent as a team from the line (12-21) while BCU hit 75.0 percent (18-24).
Nebraska Wesleyan actually led the majority of the second half as BCU didn't get their first lead until the 8:59 mark. The two teams went back-and-forth the rest of the way.
NWU got a backdoor layup from Andy Schweitzer with 2:32 to play to go up 61-60, but they would not score a field goal the rest of the way. Shipley hit a layup to give Briar Cliff the lead then Trevor Johnson went 1-2 at the foul line to tie the game at 62-62.
On the BCU possession, they missed an inside layup but got the offensive rebound and hit Sitzmann for the open look at the 3-pointer.
Shipley was the lone BCU player in double figures, with Tim Loan coming off the bench for nine points and six rebounds.
For NWU, Jackson scored 20 points and Schweitzer added 12 points. Bryce Arp had nine points, four rebounds and a team-high five assists.
NWU will look to get their first GPAC win on Saturday as they host Northwestern College, ranked No. 8 in the NAIA II poll.