ORANGE CITY, Iowa – A pair of unexpected heroes emerged Wednesday night as sophomores Jeffrey Schuch (Dell Rapids, S.D.) and Koln Oppold (Sioux Falls, S.D.) scored 19 points and 16 points, respectively. The No. 7 Dakota Wesleyan University men’s basketball team held on to defeat No. 19 Northwestern College, 73-69 in Great Plains Athletic Conference action at the Bultman Center in Orange City, Iowa.
The Tigers (15-3, 7-2 GPAC) were hitting 3-pointers early as Oppold and Samuel McCloud (Rapid City, S.D.) each made baskets from downtown to give DWU a 9-3 lead.
Minutes later, sophomore Mason Larson (Langford, S.D.) nailed a 3-pointer of his own to extend the lead. On the next DWU possession, Oppold made a basket to make it a nine-point game.
After the Red Raiders (14-5, 6-3 GPAC) took a timeout, they went on a 5-2 spurt to pull within three points of DWU.
Collin Kramer (Volga, S.D.) ended the run with a 3-pointer. However, Trent Hilbrands of NWC answered with his own shot from beyond the arc. With just under six minutes to play in the half, the Red Raiders took their first lead of the game with a 3-pointer by Jay Small.
Schuch helped keep DWU going as he made a layup to tie the game moments later. With the clock winding down in the half, Schuch tossed up a deep 3-pointer and made it to pull the Tigers within two points at halftime.
Larson and Oppold made consecutive baskets to begin the second half to help DWU regain a slight advantage. Ty Hoglund (Dell Rapids, S.D.) joined the scoring with a 3-pointer in the first three minutes of the half to help the Tigers hold a small lead.
After five and a half minutes of play, the Red Raiders began hitting shots as they took a 55-48 lead, forcing a DWU timeout.
The Tigers went back to the post as Schuch scored seven-straight points. McCloud made a 3-pointer midway through the second half to liven the Tigers and pull them within three points.
With under five minutes to play, McCloud hit back-to-back shots from 3-point range. Holding a two-point lead with a minute to play, Oppold made one free throw to cushion the lead. But, following a missed 3-pointer by NWC, Larson made a free throw to put the game on ice and come away with a victory.
Schuch led the Tigers with 19 points, while McCloud notched a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Oppold chipped in 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists, as Larson added eight points.
DWU shot 48.1% from the field and tallied 30 points in the paint, while holding the Red Raiders to 20 points below their season average.
The Tigers host (RV) Dordt University at 8 p.m. Wednesday night for a GPAC matchup at the Corn Palace.