November 17, 2009

Pipers clip Eagles in thriller

The Pipers took an 8-5 lead in the first five minutes of the game, with six of those points coming from Carl Hipp (Jr., Little Canada, Minn.) under the basket. The Eagles then tied it at 9-9 on a lay-up from Nathan Thompson (Jr., Fergus Falls, Minn.) at 14:14.

Northwestern took their first lead nearly a minute later when Thompson hit a three-pointer for a 12-11 Northwestern lead.

The Eagles upped their lead to 23-16 with a shot from outside the arc by Lance Westberg (Fy., River Falls, Wis.) at 10:36. But the Pipers answered quickly, as Jordan Schmidt (Fy., Northbrook, Ill.) sandwiched a Christian Taber (Fy., Brooklyn Park, Minn.) three-pointer with baskets from inside the paint and outside the arc. Those eight points gave Hamline a 24-23 lead at 9:46.

Taber extended that lead to four points with another trey just 20 seconds later.

Thompson once again tied the game for the Eagles on a short basket with under two minutes to play, 37-37, but the Pipers out-scored their visitors 5-2 in the final two minutes of the half to lead 42-37 at halftime.

Schmidt had 13 points and Taber had 11 heading into the locker room at halftime. Thompson had nine for the Eagles after 20 minutes.

Eric Garst (Sr., Mesa, Ariz.) started off the second half with a baseline three-pointer from near the Northwestern bench to tie the game at 42-42. The Eagles used that basket to start a 13-2 run that gave them a 52-44 lead three and a half minutes into the second half.

They held control of the scoreboard for much of the second half, until the Pipers began to claw away at the deficit in the final five minutes. A pair of layups from Hipp, followed by a Brandon Rieg (So., Riverside, Calif.) steal that he took in to the basket to get two free throws, got the Pipers to within one at 72-71 with 3:30 to play.

Levi Wenrich (So., Newhall, Calif.) tied the game at 3:05, 72-72, with a free throw, but Brian Lecheler (Jr., Abbotsford, Wis.) drained a three-pointer for the 75-72 Northwestern lead.

Hipp made another shot inside the paint to get the Pipers to 75-74, then was fouled while grabbing a rebound on the opposite end of the court. He made one of two free throws to tie the game again, 75-75, with two minutes to play.

Reid Berens (Sr., Lino Lakes, Minn.) regained the two-point Eagles advantage with a lay-up on their next possession. Northwestern then got the ball back on a Piper turnover, and Berens was fouled and sent to the line, making one shot to put Northwestern up by three, 78-75, with 1:14 to play.

Wenrich spent some more time at the foul line, cutting the Eagles' lead to one with 1:02 to play on a pair of free throws.

A wild scramble at mid-court found the ball back in Northwestern’s possession with 45 seconds to play. However, with 30 seconds on the game clock and the shot clock running out, Hipp blocked an Eagles shot and recovered the rebound under the basket.

A pair of Hamline timeouts had the Pipers in-bounding the ball under the basket. Hipp was fouled along the baseline, and sank both free throws for a 79-78 Hamline lead with 16 seconds on the clock.

On the responding Northwestern possession, Hamline’s defense held the Eagles out along the perimeter. Wenrich pressured for, and received, a jump ball, stopping the clock with four seconds to play in the game and getting the ball back for Hamline.

Wenrich was fouled after receiving the in-bounds pass, but missed both shots. Berens rebounded the ball and the Eagles called a timeout with 3.1 seconds on the clock. They in-bounded the ball on the far baseline, but couldn’t get past Hipp, who recorded a steal to end the game.

Hipp finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds (three offensive), and two blocked shots. Schmidt had 16 points and Taber finished with 11.

Northwestern was led by 20 points from Berens, 15 from Lecheler, and 11 from Gabe Jefferson (So., Lincoln, Neb.).

The Pipers move to 1-1 overall with the non-conference win. Northwestern opens the season at 0-1 overall. Hamline will next host Buena Vista on Sunday, November 29, at 3:00 p.m.