I still can't believe that shot went in. I wrote the press release, sent out the stats, spent the night replaying it in my mind. And it still seems unbelievable. In case you live under a rock and haven't heard, Chase Walder hit a three from about halfway to the midcourt line with 0.3 seconds left to give DWU the go-ahead against No. 10 Northwestern. And when I say hit a three, I mean he drained it. That ball didn't touch the rim. Nothing but net.
I thought the Palace got loud last year when the Tigers beat USF for the GPAC tournament title, but it just erupted last night. Students started swarming the court. Chase fell to the ground after being tackled by teammates. It was mayhem. And it was awesome. I'm pretty sure Jon Hart (who helps me keep stats) has bruises on his right shoulder because I was shaking it so hard after the shot went in.
Between that and the fact that we got a TON of help around the conference, it was a good night. Briar Cliff lost in overtime to Morningside, and Concordia lost by 15 -- at home! -- to Nebraska Wesleyan. DWU entered the night tied for fourth with Concordia, but is now tied for third with the Chargers. The Tigers *should hold the tiebreaker as they beat BCU in the two teams' only meeting this year, putting DWU in third. Which means a bye in the first round (Feb. 22) and a home game in the second (Feb. 24).
Hopefully, this helps secure a trip to nationals for the Tiger men. A win against No. 10 should vault us into the top 20 in the NAIA, plus with BCU and Concordia's losses, we're the third-best team in the league, which should help with an at-large bid if that's what it comes down to.
Although, I shouldn't get ahead of myself. DWU still needs to take care of business Saturday against Hastings. The last thing the Tigers need to do is overlook Hastings and pick up a loss. Also, hopefully Larry Swann is healthy by then. If we beat Northwestern without him, I imagine things would have gone even smoother with him in the game. Poor guy got sick on the court in the first minute of the game. I have a lot of respect for him; he was clearly ill, but started the game and hit a three to start the scoring. And he didn't take a lane violation to get off the court before getting sick. That takes guts.
Anyway... big game. Huge win. Great night. Can't wait to see what happens in the GPAC tournament. Who ya rootin' for?