The Southwestern men dropped their first game of the year in heartbreaking fashion to move to 23-1 on the season and 6-1 in ICCAC play. The conference match-up, in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Feb. 11, vs Kirkwood provided the opportunity for the Spartans to fight for the win right up to the closing seconds. Kirkwood hit a three-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining to win 78-75 and move into a first-place tie with the Spartans at 6-1 in ICCAC play.
Spartan Head Coach Todd Lorensen explained the game as "two really good teams going at it." The game was tied more than once during the game. "Unfortunately," Lorensen continued, "they made the last big play of the game."
After trailing by double digits, the Spartans used a 16-8 run to end the first half and close the gap to 45-41 at intermission. The run continued at the start of the second half as the score was tied 45-45 before Kirkwood answered with a 9-0 run to lead 54-45. The remainder of the half saw mini runs by both squads until Southwestern tied the score 75-75 on a missed free throw putback by Jamil Maddred with 20 seconds remaining. Ethan Meeker of Kirkwood hit the game-winning shot.
"You never want to lose but I was proud of our guys for fighting back from two separate double-digit deficits," said Lorensen. "We have some things we need to clean up but I am confident we can improve from this."
The Spartans return to action on Wednesday night in their final non-conference game against Central Community College out of Columbus, NE. Southwestern won a match-up at Central 83-67 on November 19.