SPOKANE, Wash. – Northwest University’s Michael Russo sank two free throws with 4 seconds remaining to clinch a 65-63 victory over Rocky Mountain College tonight in their final game of the Cascade-Frontier Challenge at Spokane Community College.
Rocky Mountain’s Joel Barndt hit a 3 pointer with 9 seconds to go to pull his team to within 3 points. Michael Russo was then fouled with 4 seconds remaining and calmly sank two free throws. His free throws would prove valuable as RMC’s Don Parham hi a 3 pointer with 2 seconds left for the final of 65-63.
The game would be a close contest the entire way as RMC would break out to an early 12-5 lead in the game’s opening 9 minutes, but Northwest would claw back slowly and a 7-2 run with 6:17 to go in the half would give NU a narrow, 20-19 lead after a 3 pointer by Brett Skogstad and Nemanja Grujicic’s score in the paint. Rocky Mountain would re-take the lead, 23-20, on Malachi Roberts’ jumper, but Ryan McIntosh would drain a trey to knot the score at 23-all with 1:11 to go. RMC would take the lead once more on Joel Barndt’s layup. NU’s Taylor Cliett would grab an offensive rebound and feed McIntosh on the perimeter and he would sink the 3 pointer with 55 ticks on the clock as Northwest would head to the locker room with a slim, one point 26-25 lead.
Northwest would outscore RMC 13-8 in the early going of the second half to build a 10 point, 39-29 lead at the 14:51 mark. But, the Battlin’ Bears from Billings would chip away at the Eagles lead and Malachi Roberts jumper would give them a 48-47 lead with 5:54 to go in the game. Michael Russo would tie the game at 49-49 and give NU the 50-49 lead with his free throw with 5:09 on the clock. The Bears’ Matt Strickland would score in the paint to regain the lead, 51-50, but Northwest would re-take the lead and for good as Michael Greene would hit 2 of his game high 23 points for the 52-51 Eagle lead. Greene would then grab a key offensive rebound and feed Grujicic for the layup, 54-51, Northwest with 2:01 left in the game. Two free throws by NU’s Nick Crossan would increase the lead to seven, 58-51, with a minute to go which would lead to Rocky Mountain’s late flurry and Russo’s key free throws to seal the Eagles’ seventh victory of the season.
Michael Greene had a game high 23 points and added 11 rebounds for his double-double to lead Northwest U. (7-2). Ryan McIntosh dropped in 13 points, and Michael Russo added 11 points and 6 rebounds. NU shot 44% for the game and hit 13 of 15 free throws for 87%. The Eagles’ bench outscored RMC’s bench, 18-5.
Rocky Mountain (4-3) was led by Joel Barndt and Malachi Roberts as they each scored 15 points for the Bears. Don Parham scored 12 points, 9 rebounds and handed out 5 assists. RMC shot 41% for the night and had the edge in rebounding, 37-33.
“I was pleased with our guys tonight because we significantly improved our defense from last night’s game,” commented John Van Dyke, Eagle head coach. “It was a great win on the road for a young team and they showed a lot of composure down the stretch when Rocky Mountain made a run at us. We grew in a positive way tonight.”
NU will return to Kirkland and will host Walla Walla Univ. on Sat., Nov. 24 in the Pavilion.
Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2012 Share on Facebook