DUBUQUE – Jared Callanan (Sr.-Bennington, Vt.) scored a career-high 36 points and set an Iowa Wesleyan College record for three-pointers made in a game as the Tigers came back to defeat Clarke College 82-80 in the Midwest Collegiate Conference Tournament First Round Monday night.
Callanan hit nine three-pointers and Jamal Blackmond (Fr.-Aurora, Ill.) hit the deciding free throws with 25 seconds left as the ninth-seeded Tigers rallied from 16 points down to defeat the #8 seed Crusaders and advance to the MCC tourney quarterfinals. IWC now will get ready to face top-seeded Grand View University on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Des Moines.
Wesleyan (9-19 overall) won for the first time in nine games and defeated Clarke on the road for the second time this season. The Tigers had to earn it, coming back from the big first half deficit as well as a double-digit deficit with less than nine minutes remaining in the game.
IWC never led in the contest until Blackmond converted a three-point play with 3:54 left in regulation to cap an 8-0 run and make it 73-72. The two teams then swapped the lead four times in the last four minutes and were tied on four other occasions before Blackmond converted what would be the winning free throws. Clarke had three shots to tie or take the lead in the last 10 seconds but missed all three, including Travis Ferrell’s final three-point try at the buzzer coming up short.
The game was a three-point shootout from the start, with the two teams combining for 26 threes in the game. Clarke hit eight triples in the first half and led by as many as 16 at 29-13 with 11:36 left in the first half. The Crusaders maintained a double-digit lead much of the half until the Tigers scored nine straight points late in the half and cut the deficit to 40-33 at halftime.
Callanan and Clarke’s Cory Billingsley engaged in a shootout throughout the game, and both had 17 points at halftime. Both continued to light it up early in the second half as the Crusaders maintained the lead despite the Tigers making their first seven shots out of halftime, including four three-pointesr.
While Billingsley slowed some in the second half, Callanan continued to keep the Tigers in the game, hitting four more three-pointers himself after making five in the first half. His ninth came with 6:13 left in the game, capping a 10-2 run that narrowed Clarke’s lead to 68-63, and also broke the school record of eight threes made in a game, a record held by four different players and set on six different occasions.
Callanan finished the game 10-for-19 from the field, including 9 of 17 from three-point range as IWC connected on 14 of 29 three-point tries as a team (48.3%). He also made all seven of his free throws, all coming in the final 4:17 of the game, and the senior also finished with a team-high five assists.
Reggie Shipp (Jr.-Aurora, Ill.) added 13 points and seven rebounds and Blackmond also came off the bench to score 11 points, all in the second half. The freshman shot 4-for-6 from the field and also grabbed seven rebounds, and helped the Tigers shoot 68.2% in the second half and 54.0% (27 of 50) from the floor for the game.
Billingsley finished with 28 points for Clarke, which concluded its season with a 6-25 record. Elliott Carr added 23 points off the bench for the Crusaders. Clarke shot 46.4% in the game (26 of 56) and made 12 of 29 three-point attempts.
Wednesday’s game at Grand View will be a rematch of last year’s MCC Tournament Championship Game, a 91-90 win for the Tigers over the Vikings. The game will air live 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; firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score #9 IWC 82 #8 Clarke 80
MCC Men's Basketball Tournament Bracket