CEDAR RAPIDS – Jeff Harper (Jr.-Whiteville, Tenn.) scored 22 points off the bench and scored the go-ahead basket in overtime as Iowa Wesleyan College held off Trinity Christian (Ill.) College 96-93 Saturday at the Bosch Financial Shootout at Mount Mercy University.
The Tigers improved to 2-0 on the season and finished as the only team to win both of its games in the tourney. IWC outlasted the Trolls in a game that saw a number of swings back and forth throughout and that wasn’t decided until two Trinity Christian three-point attempts in the final four seconds of overtime were off the mark.
Wesleyan shot 57.4% (39-for-68) for the game and did good work inside throughout. Harper made 10 of 15 field goal tries and added nine rebounds, while Nate Fuqua (Sr.-Maywood, Ill.) slashed for 18 points on his way to tournament most valuable player honors. Davis Warner (Jr.-Murfreesboro, Tenn.) also added 16 points, making 7 of 9 shot attempts.
The Tigers also forced 23 TCC turnovers, registering 16 steals in the game. That helped offset the Trolls’ staying in the game at the foul line, making 29 of 33 free throw attempts (87.9%) to stay close despite 41.8% (28 of 67) shooting.
IWC jumped to an 8-0 lead in the first minute of the game and controlled much of the first half until early fouls caught up. Trinity shot 16 of 17 at the foul line in the first half and also hit seven three-pointers, and the Trolls finished the first half on an 18-6 spurt to take a 49-43 halftime lead.
Trinity Christian would hold the lead much of the second half, but the Tigers chipped away and finally got the lead back on a layup by Harper to make it 74-72 with 7:16 left in regulation. Wesleyan would eventually build a six-point lead and still led by four with 1:05 left, but the Trolls tied it back up at 88-88 and actually a chance to win in regulation. Fortunately for IWC, Michael Taylor’s off-balance 15-footer just before the buzzer was off target, sending the game to overtime.
Harper’s basket with 2:11 remaining in overtime put the Tigers up for good at 92-91, and a layup by Keenan Stanbridge (Sr.-Quincy, Ill.) with 1:07 left put Wesleyan up five. Taylor hit two free throws, though, and the Trolls had two final chances to tie at the end, but Taylor and Jonathan Huizinga both missed three-point tries just before the buzzer.
Stanbridge scored 19 points and had five steals and joined Fuqua on the all-tournament team. Reggie Shipp (Sr.-Aurora, Ill.) also scored 13 points and added five assists, giving IWC five players scoring in double figures.
Huizinga paced Trinity Christian (1-2 overall) with 25 points, including 11-for-12 shooting at the free throw line. Jamie King added 23 points, including 18 in the first half when he made all five of his shot attempts, including four three-pointers. The Trolls out-rebounded the Tigers 37-34 but after a hot first half behind the three-point arc made just 1 of 11 three-point attempts in the second half and overtime.
Iowa Wesleyan will play in another tournament next weekend when it travels to Elgin, Ill., for the Judson University Classic. IWC will face Trinity International (Ill.) University on Friday at 5 p.m. and then on Saturday will take on the host school Judson at 4 p.m.
Box score IWC 96 TCC 93 (OT)