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November 21, 2013 8:35 am

Men win 3 games in 4 days

Written by Dante Geoffrey

The Northwest College men’s basketball team won three straight games since Nov. 13, including the first two of a nine-game homestand.

The Trappers beat the Rocky Mountain Battlin’ Bears Nov. 13 and the Montana All-Stars Friday and Saturday to improve to 5-2 on the season.

The weekend started with a big 86-56 victory over Montana.

Forward Lawrence Fejokwu, who head coach Brian Erickson said has been one of the Trappers’ most consistent players so far this season, scored 10 points, got eight rebounds, a steal and was credited with one block, though Erickson said he had at least three.

“He’s really come on at blocking shots too,” Erickson said. “It’s tough for guys that come in there.”

Jonothan Newsom led the Trappers in scoring with 14 points on a perfect 7-for-7 night from the floor. The sophomore also grabbed seven rebounds.

“Both those games he really did step up,” Erickson said. “He’s just got to keep mentally tough and keep his head up if he makes mistakes. When he does that he’s really, really good.”

All 13 Trappers played at least 10 minutes against Montana Friday night, and each came away with at least two points and a rebound.

Erickson said his team’s depth will be a real asset as the season progresses.

“If we do have a guy in foul trouble I think we have guys that can step in at any position,” Erickson said.

Backup point guard Colin May played 16 minutes and contributed 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 on 3-pointers. The Lovell native also had two rebounds.

“He’s getting a lot more confident,” Erickson said. “He’s starting to trust himself more each day.”

The Trappers rematched against the same All-Star squad Saturday, but their margin of victory was cut by 90 percent.

Northwest came back from a 53-35 halftime deficit to win 82-79.

Erickson said his team played primarily a zone defense in the first half, and an inability to get out on Montana’s shooters cost the Trappers.

“I stuck with it thinking, ‘OK, let’s see if our guys will make some adjustments,’” he said. “They didn’t make the adjustment.”

Montana made 12 of its 17 first-half 3-point attempts, but was held to 3-for-14 in the second.

Northwest also left too many points at the free throw line, Erickson said.

The Trappers shot 7-for-18 (39 percent).

“If we shoot 70 percent we probably win by 10,” said Erickson, who wants to get his players more practice reps to ease their nerves.

The Trappers switched to man-to-man defense in the second half and held Montana to just 26 points.

Freshman Cody McCoy led the team with 14 points on 4-for-4 3-point shooting.

Fejokwu turned in another strong performance. The sophomore nearly had a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.

May went for 11 points, five rebounds and a steal.

Sophomore Gabe Solarin added 12 points, five rebounds and a steal.

Solarin’s best game came a few days earlier in the Trappers’ 72-63 win over Rocky Mountain. The shooting guard had 21 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals.

Fejokwu went for 13 points and six rebounds on 6-for-11 shooting.

Sophomore Andreas Bigum had nine points, six boards and two assists. Bigum’s week also included signing a letter of intent with the University of Texas Pan-American of the Western Athletic Conference.

Newsom did not play against Rocky due to an ankle injury.

The Montana All-Stars are a squad comprised of former Montana collegiate players, many of which played in the Frontier League, Erickson said.

Northwest will continue its season this weekend with games against the Utah All-Stars, Planet Athlete and possibly the Montana All-Stars again.

Planet Athlete, which rosters high school and post-grad basketball teams, may not field two teams for the tournament.

The Trappers will play the Utah All-Stars at 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday), and again against a TBD opponent at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday.

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