The Trappers (7-3) won two games by a total of five points on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22-23, and lost in overtime Nov. 21 by three.
Head coach Brian Erickson said the Trappers are still figuring out how to play with each other, but are becoming more confident in themselves and as a team.
Sophomore Jonothan Newsom scored a Northwest season-high 39 points in Friday’s 90-87 win and sophomore Gary Gordon led the Trappers with a personal season-high of 21 in Saturday’s 81-79 victory.
Northwest led Utah 44-38 at the half on Friday on the way to a three-point win, and had to come back from down six points at half to win by two on Saturday.
Newsom and sophomore forward Lawrence Fejokwu were the only Trappers to score in double digits in both wins.
Newsom went for 39 points on an all-around impressive shooting night. He shot 11-for-15 from the field, including 4-for-6 on 3-pointers, and was 13-of-17 from the foul line. He also had nine rebounds and two steals.
“He just played really really hard,” Erickson said. “He was crashing the boards, getting put-backs, getting steals and going the other way.”
Newsom followed up that performance with 10 points, two rebounds and two steals on Saturday. The Aurora, Colo., native has scored at least 10 points in five straight games in which he has played (he missed a Nov. 13 matchup with Rocky Mountain due to injury).
Erickson said that Newsom is a scorer who is more dangerous the more confident and aggressive he gets.
“He’s got a pull-up jump shot that’s tough to stop ... but when he goes at the hoop he’s really hard to stop,” the coach said.
Fejokwu scored 15 points and added five rebounds and two blocks Friday and then went for 10 points, four boards and another two blocks the next day.
Gordon’s 21 points on Saturday were complemented with nine rebounds. The point guard shot 7-of-8 from the field and was 7-for-9 from the free throw line.
Erickson said Gordon attacked Utah’s zone defense and did a good job of finishing once he was within 15 feet of the basket.
“It’s tough to stop him from scoring when he gets inside,” Erickson said.
Sophomore Gabe Solarin scored six points and grabbed nine rebounds Friday. He tied with Newsom for the team high in rebounds.
Sophomore Andreas Bigum contributed during both games. The 6-foot-8 swingman scored nine points on 4-for-5 shooting Friday and had another 11 points in only nine minutes of playing time Saturday. Bigum totaled seven rebounds, two assists and a block over the weekend.
Freshman Cody McCoy scored eight points and sophomore KJ Rech had seven Saturday. Rech and Newsom each had two steals Saturday to lead Northwest.
The Trappers will head to Glendive, Mont., today (Friday) for two games at the Dawson Community College Tournament Friday and Saturday.
Northwest will take on the Coca-Cola All-Stars at 4 p.m. Friday and Minot Air Force Base at 1 p.m. Saturday.
It will be the men’s final games before returning home for the start of conference play against Gillette College on Wednesday.
“When we get into region it’s going to be who executes the best, who’s doing the little things the best,” Erickson said.
The coach said his team needs to keep improving and learning after each game, even the losses.
“We got to look at it as a mark in the lesson column,” he said.
Northwest turned the ball over nine times Saturday, marking the first time the Trappers totaled less than 10 turnovers.
“We’re moving in the right direction,” he said.
The official results and stats were not available from the loss.