Second Half Sea Lion Surge Ends Nighthawks' Regional
Ryzin Bergersen led Northwest Nazarene with 19 points. Photo by Kara Templin.
Ryzin Bergersen led Northwest Nazarene with 19 points. Photo by Kara Templin.

Friday, March 10, 2023

SAN DIEGO – No. 8 seeded Northwest Nazarene kept the hands of top-seeded Point Loma full through the first half Friday but the host Sea Lions blistered the nets in the second to end the Nighthawks’ season, 78-64, in the NCAA Division II West Regional quarterfinals at Golden Gym.

The Nigthhawks led by much as eight points early in the first half before the Sea Lions rallied to tie the game and take a 28-25 lead into halftime. Point Loma took the game over in the second half, shooting 60% in the period and 48.1% for the game to advance to the semifinals.

Sophomore guard Ryzin Bergerson led Northwest Nazarene in the loss with 19 points on 6 of 13 from the field and 4 of 9 from three-point range. Junior forward Gabriel Murphy finished with 14 points and six rebounds and sophomore guard Tru Allen added 11 points. The Nighthawks finished shooting 37.3% from the field and 31.6% from three-point range.

Kaden Anderson, the D2CCA West Region Player of the Year, led Point Loma with a double-double of 21 points and 15 rebounds with five assists. Jake Lifgren and Brian Goracke finished with 17 points apiece.

Northwest Nazarene, which won the GNAC Championships to earn the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Championships, finishes the season with a 15-15 record.

Much like they did in the GNAC Championships final, the Nighthawks blasted out of the gates on an 8-0 run, fueled by five points by Bergersen. Northwest Nazarene held on to the lead through the first 13 minutes of the period until Tobin Karlberg tied the game at 21-21 and took the lead on his jumper with 6:27 left. The Nighthawks bounced back to tie it at 25-25 on Allen’s jumper with 3:43 left before Goracke’s three-pointer with 35 seconds left gave Point Loma the 28-25 halftime lead.

Northwest Nazarene never held the lead again as the Sea Lions surged offensively from the start of the half. Goracke’s three-pointer at the 16:05 mark put Point Loma ahead 38-31 and Anderson’s lay-in two possessions later made it a 45-32 lead with 14:34 remaining. The Point Loma lead was 10 points with 12:19 to go when NNU went on a 7-2 run that ended when two Allen free throws brought the Nighthawks within 49-44 with 8:49 left.

Northwest Nazarene did not come closer as Point Loma wasted little time building the lead again, going up 11 on an Anderson’s three-point play with 5:16 left.

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