November 26, 2016 by remnantdavid
Editor’s note: every week beginning with this one, David Pederson, Remnant Sports broadcaster and student coach for the UNW men’s team, will give an update on the team. Enjoy this exclusive insider’s look at UNW men’s basketball:
A common phrase that is often used to explain that great things need time to be built. This phrase is an accurate description of the first week of the season for the UNW men’s basketball team.
The Eagles tipped off their season on Tuesday night of last week. UNW played Hamline University to open up the year, following that up with Central College (Iowa) on Saturday night, and then finished out their first week of game action by facing Macalester College this last Tuesday.
The Eagles went 2-1 in their first week, by dropping their first two contests, before defeating Macalester to break into the win column. Let’s take a deeper look into this first week of Eagle Basketball:
November 15th: Hamline 88 UNW 78
The Eagles opened up their season at home against the Pipers. The Eagles played strong second half as they attempted to rally, but they were not able to overcome their poor performance in the first half. The Pipers were hot coming out of the gate scoring a whopping 49 points in the opening frame. Hamline took a 15 point lead into halftime. The Eagles improved on their play in the second half cutting the deficit to within nine at one point, but the Pipers hot shooting was too much for the Eagles to overcome. Sophomore Anderson Bazile Jr. and Senior Aaron Youngberg led the Eagles in scoring with 14 a piece, while Hamline’s Zach Smith had a fantastic night leading all scorers with 27. The Eagles shot only 22 percent from long range.
November 19th: Central 76 UNW 61
In the season opener, the Eagles were plagued by a slow start. This was corrected against the Central College Dutch. Northwestern came out hot in the first half scoring 36 points in the opening frame. The Eagles went into the locker room trailing the Dutch by only three.
The second half was a different story.
The Eagles went cold in the second half and struggled to score. Colby Taylor led the Dutch with 21 points and Central outscored Northwestern by 12 in the second half to hand the Eagles their second consecutive loss to start the season.
Will Gisler led the Eagles in scoring with 14 points and Peter Maring was a monster on the defensive end contributing 4 steals and a block to the effort.
November 22nd: UNW 68 Macalester 61
The Eagles’ first win did not come the way they expected it to. Cody Sprenger and Porter Morrell (the two starting guards for the Eagles) did not suit up which left gaping holes in the Northwestern lineup.
Fans thought that the story of the night would be the two seniors’ absence, which wasn’t the case. Sophomore Mitchell Weege, playing his first quality minutes of his career, did a great job filling in by playing hard on the defensive end and getting his teammates some great looks by moving the ball on offense.
Weege was solid, but the story of the night was the freshman phenom Tanner Youngberg. Tanner (who is the younger brother of senior Aaron Youngberg) got his first ever collegiate minutes and did not disappoint. The freshman did it all collecting 12 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds for the Eagles.
The Eagles also welcomed back Clay Elrod to the lineup after missing the first two games of the season. The junior had 8 points coming off the bench.
Will Gisler led the Eagles in scoring with 17 points (while ripping 16 boards), including some clutch free throws at the end to seal the game.
Peter Maring was a defensive star once again for the Eagles as he held Kareem Ismail to only 13 points. Ismail is one of the top posts in the MIAC and was averaging over 20 points per game entering the contest.
Michael Gutierrez led Macalester with 22 points, 19 of those points coming in the second half.
After finishing their first week of game action with a 1-2 record, the Eagles got a couple days off for Thanksgiving Break. They return to practice Monday as they get ready to open conference play on Friday night.
The Eagles will face the University of Wisconsin-Superior on Friday night, and then they have a colossal matchup with the St. Scholastica Saints. The Saints were victorious in both regular season meetings with the Eagles last season on their way to winning the UMAC Regular Season title. However, the last time the two teams met, the Eagles won 93-70 to win the UMAC Tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles split the season series with UW-Superior last year.