The Southwestern College men’s basketball team jumped out to an early lead and didn’t waver Saturday night in an 86-74 victory against arch rival Friends at Stewart Field House.

It was the first time since February 2017 that neither team was ranked in the top 25 when they matched up.

Though all three meetings from a year ago were decided by a total of 13 points, this game had a different feel to it from the start. The Builders (13-5, 7-5 KCAC) doubled that number in the first 20 minutes, taking a 52-26 halftime lead.

Southwestern finished the first half shooting 61 percent, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range, and saw three players in double figures at the break.

Junior Geoff Salas had 14 points at the intermission and finished with a game-high 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting.

It would not be a normal Friends versus Southwestern game without a little drama.

With the Builders leading 70-48 and just less than nine minutes to go, the Falcons (10-7, 8-4) put together a 24-8 run in the next six minutes to cut the deficit to 78-72.

Friends continued to put together defensive stops and had two opportunities to cut the deficit even further, but the Builders came up big on their end to keep their lead intact.

Nearly two minutes later and with less than 60 seconds left on the clock, senior Andrew Hamm broke a scoring drought by converting a physical and-1 basket under the rim to extend the lead to nine and ice the game. Hamm finished with 22 points.

The Moundbuilders outrebounded Friends 46-38, but the Falcons had a 13-9 advantage on the offensive glass. Their pressure on the offensive boards was a big factor in their near comeback with 17 second-chance points, compared to five for Southwestern.

The Builders continue to hold the nation’s No. 1 field-goal defense.

Junior Noah Webster scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half and ended a perfect 4 of 4 from the field.

Senior Lorenzo Martinez grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, while junior Troy Baker blocked four shots in the second half.

The Builders, who have won five straight and eight of their past nine, moved up to sixth place in the conference and face third-placed and No. 20 Bethel at 8 p.m. Wednesday before taking on KCAC-leading and No. 10 Ottawa on Saturday.

 

Southwestern 86, Friends 74

FRIENDS (10-7, 8-4)

Gabriel Coachman 0-1 0-0 0, Bryant Rogers 0-2 0-0 0, Zion Fralin 2-4 2-2 6, Tate Vang 2-5 2-4 6, Jarrett Murphy 1-3 0-0 3, Hayden Bruner 0-0 0-0 0, James Conley 8-19 4-5 21, Phillip Medrano 1-5 0-0 3, Braden Larcom 0-0 0-0 0, Cedric Griffin 0-0 0-0 0, Jun Murdock 4-19 6-7 16, Davonte Pack 6-13 2-2 17, Marquan Shakur 1-1 0-0 2, CR Curless 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-72 16-20 74.

SOUTHWESTERN (13-5, 7-5)

De’Rias Johnson 0-3 0-0 0, Andrew Hamm 6-15 9-9 22, Jarehn White 3-5 1-1 7, Geoff Salas 10-19 0-0 23, Lorenzo Martinez 3-4 0-0 6, Noah Webster 4-4 5-6 15, Ahmad Pratt 1-3 0-0 3, Troy Baker 4-7 1-2 10, Quintin Wallace 0-2 0-0 0, Jake Haertl 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-62 16-18 86.

 

Halftime: Southwestern 52-26. 3-Point goals: Friends 8-24 (Coachman 0-1, Rogers 0-1, Fralin 0-1, Vang 0-1, Murphy 1-1, Conley 1-4, Medrano 1-4, Murdock 2-8, Pack 3-3); Southwestern 8-22 (Johnson 0-1, Hamm 1-8, White 0-2, Salas 3-6, Webster 2-2, Pratt 1-2, Baker 1-1). Rebounds: Friends 38 (Conley 7); Southwestern 46 (Martinez 12). Assists: Friends 7 (Murdock 3); Southwestern 14 (White 7). Steals: Friends 7 (Murdock 4); Southwestern 4 (4 with 1). Blocks: Friends 4 (4 with 1); Southwestern 4 (Baker 4). Turnovers: Friends 7, Southwestern 15. Fouled out: Conley. Total fouls: Friends 21, Southwestern 17. Technical: Conley.

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