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Magical Run Ends As Nighthawks Rocked By Orediggers
Ezekiel Alley led Northwest Nazarene with 10 points in his final game and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Photo by Kris Parker.
Ezekiel Alley led Northwest Nazarene with 10 points in his final game and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Photo by Kris Parker.

Monday, March 15, 2021

GOLDEN, Colo. – It took the home team and a page out of Northwest Nazarene’s playbook to put the brakes on the Nighthawks’ season.

After two straight games of running their opponent of the gym in the first half, the No. 5 seeded Nighthawks watched No. 2 seeded Colorado Mines outscore them 42-27 in the first half en route to an 84-52 victory in the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship West Regional final at Lockridge Arena.

The Orediggers (18-2) limited Northwest Nazarene to just 30.6 percent shooting for the game and 32.1 percent from three-point range to end the magical first-time run in the Division II postseason. Colorado Mines also made the Nighthawks pay defensively, forcing 18 turnovers that turned into 25 points.

Senior guard Ezekiel Alley led the Nighthawks (13-5) with 10 points and was the only NNU player to finish in double figures. Sophomore guard George Reidy finished with eight points. Alley was named to the West Region All-Tournament Team.

Brendan Sullivan led Colorado Mines with 19 points. Trent Dykema finished with 17 points with Ben Boone adding 13 points. Kai Barr led all players with 10 rebounds.

The two teams battled through a close start with the Nighthawks jumping out to a 14-9 lead on Andrew Ferrin’s lay-in at the 13:19. The Orediggers came back to pull ahead 17-15 on Thurman Knowles’ three-pointer midway through the period.

Colorado Mines held a 23-21 lead before Titus Reed’s jumper with 6:34 left ignited the decisive 19-8 run that closed the half and put the game effectively out of reach. Dykema made it a 10-point Mines lead with his jumper with 3:42 left and then converted a three-pointer with a minute to go that made it a 16-point advantage before a Reidy free throw provided for a 42-27 halftime lead. Northwest Nazarene went 2 for 13 over the final seven minutes.

The Orediggers wasted little time extending the lead, going up 49-29 on Sullivan’s short jumper three minutes into the second half. Colorado Mines never led by less than 19 points the rest of the way.

The Division II postseason run was the first in program history for Northwest Nazarene and was the first national playoff run since making the field for the 1999 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship.

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