Wednesday's opening seven minutes of basketball was too much for Jimmie men's basketball to absorb facing Northwestern College at Newman Arena.
Two quick fouls on the University of Jamestown's Mason Walters sent the 6-foot-9 sophomore to the bench and the Red Raiders promptly rifled off a 9-0 run. But that was just the first of the bad news for the home team in a 91-78 loss, UJ's second setback in as many games.
Senior all-conference forward Jack Talley was helped off the court and to the locker room with 13:29 remaining in the first half after suffering what appeared to be an injury to his right leg.
"Injuries and sickness is all part of the game," said UJ men's basketball coach Danny Neville, who was still without starting guard Marc Kjos and reserve guard Cole Woodford on Wednesday. "You still gotta compete and battle."
Northwestern (3-1) shot lights out from long range for the first time this season, converting 10 of 19 3-pointers in the first half to lead 55-33 after 20 minutes. The Red Raiders buried 13 from beyond the arc all told after converting just 22 of 71 from distance (31%) over the team's first three games.
The Jimmies (4-2) have now lost three straight to the Red Raiders.
"You know at some point they're gonna start shooting better," Neville said. "Unlucky for us, it was tonight. You gotta credit them."
Trailing 23-14 when Talley went down, 3-pointers by Northwestern's Graig Sterk and Jay Small contributed to an 8-2 Raiders' spurt that increased the advantage to 15 points at 31-16. Another run by the visitors before the half -- a 12-0 streak fueled by two Small 3-pointers and another by Isaac Heyer, expanded the lead to more than 20 markers with three minutes to play before the half.
Heyer went 5-for-8 from downtown all told and scored 21 points, while 6-foot-6 true freshman Alex Van Kalsbeek scored a team-high 23 points.
"We have a good shooting group. Danny (Neville) and I were talking before the game, you know, we hadn't shot it yet this year," said Northwestern College men's basketball coach Kris Korver. "The law of averages, I guess? We moved the ball; shared the ball. I thought our guys were really unselfish. Issac Heyer got the hot hand and I thought our guys did a fabulous job finding the hot hand and trying to help him extend that."
Northwestern led by as many as 30 in the second half before UJ outpaced the Raiders 25-8 over the final nine minutes. Van Kalsbeck, whose two older brothers played basketball for coach Korver at Northwestern, entered the game leading the Raiders in scoring (19.0) and rebounding (8.3) per game.
"He's been coming to basketball camp forever and he's been coming to basketball games for Northwestern forever," Korver said. "He's a pretty dandy player; he's a pretty dandy kid. We're fortunate that we have him and we're looking forward to having him for four years."
Walters scored a game-high 24 points for the home team, while Allante' Pickens posted 15 points and six assists and freshman guard Will Cordes shined once again off the bench with four 3-pointers on five shots and 18 total points. But the mood was somber following Talley's early departure.
"I feel bad for Jack. I feel bad for Danny," Korver said. "It's tough when you're missing a couple of other guards and then you're missing Jack, who I think's one of the first-team all-league-type of players in our league."
UJ senior forward Brady Birch returned to action after missing the past couple of games and finished with eight points and five rebounds. Senior guard Tanner Slag scored five points during UJ's game-ending charge.
"I thought the end of the game, those guys we brought in -- especially Tanner Slag -- brought us some really good energy," Neville said. "So there's some good things to look forward to. Those last six to eight minutes we really competed and played hard."
The Jimmies begin a stretch of four games on the road Monday at Hastings College.
"We gotta start getting some guys healthy."
Northwestern College 91, University of Jamestown 78
NC 55 36 -- 91
UJ 33 45 -- 78
NC -- Alex Van Kalsbeek 23, Isaac Heyer 21, Jay Small 17, Trent Hilbrands 11, Keegan Van Egdom 8. Totals: 35-70 FG, 13-31 3-pointers (Heyer 5, Small 4, Hilbrands 3, Sterk), 8-10 FT, 37 Rebounds (3 with 6), 9 Fouls, 26 Assists (Small 8), 6 Turnovers, 2 Blocks (2 with 1), 5 Steals (Heyer 2).
UJ -- Mason Walters 24, Will Cordes 18, Allante' Pickens 15, Brady Birch 8, Devon Schultz 5, Tanner Slag 5, Devan Praska 2, Brock Schrom 1. Totals: 33-73 FG, 8-19 3-pointers (Cordes 4, Walters 2, Pickens, Slag), 4-6 FT, 40 Rebounds (Walters 9), 11 Fouls, 18 Assists (Pickens 6), 9 Turnovers, 1 Block (Schultz), 3 Steals (3 with 1).
Records: Northwestern 3-1, 1-1 GPAC. Jamestown 4-2, 1-1.