Nebraska Wesleyan overcame a 12-point halftime deficit and took over the lead late, but key Hastings College free throw shooting allowed the Broncos to hold on for the 66-62 victory in Great Plains Athletic Conference men’s basketball action on Tuesday night (Nov. 24) at Snyder Arena in Lincoln.
NWU falls to 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the GPAC, while the Broncos snapped their three-game losing streak to improve to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in GPAC play.
Hastings jumped out to a 43-31 lead at halftime as NWU shot just 35.7 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes. However, the game was a tale of two halves as the Broncos struggled from the field in the second half going just 7-25 from the floor for 28.0 percent.
Nebraska Wesleyan trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half with just over 16 minutes to play before they would mount their rally. The Prairie Wolves went on a 19-3 run over the next nine minutes and took the lead at the 6:49 mark on a jumper from the top of the key by Jake Spurgeon.
The lead would change hands twice as NWU regained the lead at 61-60 when Jim Lance made a lay-up in the paint. The Broncos would answer with a 3-pointer by Derek Fletcher with 2:56 to play and never trail again.
With 26 seconds left to play, Nebraska Wesleyan had the ball down three points with a chance to tie the game, but Spurgeon’s 3-point attempt with 0:07 seconds left missed and the Broncos made a free throw to seal the win.
It was free throws that in the end proved to be the deciding factor in the game, as Hastings would go 17-19 from the line, while NWU was 12-20 with three misses that could have tied the game late in the second half.
Junior center Jim Lance came off the bench to lead NWU with 18 points going 10-12 from the free throw line. Jake Spurgeon and Nick Dinan each had 11, while Bryce Arp added 10 points. Brett Potter had six rebounds, while Dinan added six boards and six assists.
Waid Vontz had a huge game for Hastings scoring 25 points with four 3-pointers. Derek Fletcher scored 15 points with three 3-pointers.
NWU will now prepare to host the 21st annual Snyder Classic this weekend (Nov. 27-28). NWU will play Colorado College on Friday at 7:30, then Westminster College (Mo.) on Saturday at 7:30. Crown College is the other team in the tournament.