Eric Jackson hit a 3-pointer with just under one minute to play to pull Nebraska Wesleyan within three points in the final minute but Northwestern answered with a basket on the other end and hit four straight free throws to earn a 69-61 victory over the Prairie Wolves on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 14) at the Bultman Center in Orange City, Iowa.
It was a game of streaks between the Prairie Wolves and 13th-ranked Red Raiders. Northwestern led big early in the game jumping out to a 21-8 lead in the first half and looked as if they would run away with the game.
NWU went on a 14-1 run and tied the game at 22-22 to get right back into the game. However, Northwestern would end the half on a 9-2 run to hold a 31-24 halftime lead.
The Prairie Wolves (7-9, 3-8 GPAC) remained close throughout the entire second half, but never could get over the hump. After cutting the lead to six midway through the second half, Northwestern's Zack Leeper hit a 3-pointer and was fouled to complete the four-point play and give the Red Raiders a 10-point advantage.
The closest the Prairie Wolves would get the rest of the way was in the final minute as Eric Jackson made his first 3-pointer of the game to make the score 64-61 with 57 seconds remaining. On the Red Raiders possession, Walker Seim drove the lane and hit the basket to put the Red Raiders back up by five. NWU came up empty on their next two possessions and the Red Raiders were 4-4 at the line to seal the win.
One game after shooting 56.6 percent from the floor in a win over Doane, Nebraska Wesleyan had another poor shooting effort against the Red Raiders. The Prairie Wolves hit just over 35 percent from the floor and also struggled from beyond the arc.
Three players scored in double figures for NWU led by Trevor Johnson with 17 points. Andy Schweitzer and Nick Dinan both scored 10 points.
Walker Seim led Northwestern scoring 20 points of the bench.
It won't get any easier for NWU as they will face two more ranked opponents next week starting with a trip to Sioux City, Iowa to face #21 Briar Cliff on Wednesday.