MOUNT PLEASANT – Viterbo (Wis.) University guard Ryan Ambrose hit two free throws with 20 seconds left and the V-Hawks held off Iowa Wesleyan College 69-67 in a close Midwest Collegiate Conference contest Saturday at Ruble Arena.
Despite a strong effort the Tigers were unable to follow up their big win on Wednesday against #11 Grand View and dropped to 7-11 overall, 2-5 in the MCC. Viterbo improved to 6-11 overall, 4-2 in conference play.
Neither team ran and hid in a game that was close throughout. The Tigers and V-Hawks were tied eight times in a game which also saw 11 lead changes. The two teams also were tied three times and swapped the lead six times in the game’s last six minutes.
Viterbo took the game’s biggest lead at 10 points, as the V-Hawks opened the second half with an 11-0 run to take a 42-32 lead with 15:56 left in the game. IWC would claw back, though, staying within 4-7 points much of the half and finally retaking the lead when Patrick Macki (Sr.-London, England) hit a three-pointer to make it 61-60 with 4:59 to play.
The teams would go back and forth the rest of the way. The Tigers took their final lead when Brett Azinger (Fr.-Montrose, Iowa) hit a pair of free throws to make it 66-65, but Scott Buschman scored while fouled the next time down to put the V-Hawks back ahead by one with 2:11 to play.
Wesleyan got to the line the next time down the floor and Jamal Blackmond (Fr.-Aurora, Ill.) hit one of two free throws to tie it at 67-67. Both teams missed opportunities on their next possessions, but Viterbo got the ball back after a Tiger miss and Ambrose got to the line and made two free throws for a 69-67 lead with 20 seconds left.
IWC got two chances to win in the final seconds. Reggie Shipp (Jr.-Aurora, Ill.) missed a three-point try with five seconds left, but the rebound bounced around before going right to Shipp, who took a 25-footer at the buzzer but missed again.
The Tigers led quite a bit in a close first half that also featured five ties and four lead changes. Wesleyan led by as many as seven points at 28-21, but the V-Hawks came back to take the lead late in the half before Shipp made two free throws with 1:01 remaining in the half for IWC’s eventual 32-31 lead at the break.
Shipp finished with 23 points to lead IWC, while Azinger chipped in 11 points. The Tigers shot 41.5% (22 of 53), including 6 of 25 from three-point range (24%). Blackmond and Weldon Miller (Jr.-San Rafael, Calif.) both added seven rebounds. Viterbo shot 43.1% (25-for-58) and enjoyed a 39-29 rebounding edge. Buschman finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds while Eric Ambrose, brother of Ryan, led the V-Hawks with 17 points.
Wesleyan will take a week off from competition, next taking the court Saturday at Waldorf College in Forest City at 3 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the IWC Web site at www.iwc.edu/onlinemedia.
For more information regarding the IWC basketball programs or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score Viterbo 69 IWC 67