MOUNT PLEASANT – Nate Fuqua (Sr.-Maywood, Ill.) scored 16 points to lead a balanced attack and Iowa Wesleyan College used a blazing start to defeat Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) College 71-58 in the Tigers’ opening game in the 10th annual Kiwanis Classic.
The Tigers hit eight three-pointers in the first half in building an early 17-point lead but saw that lead shrink as the Trojans got within one in the second half. Wesleyan held HLG to 11 points over the final 15 minutes of the game, though, and improved to 4-1 this year while the Trojans fell to 1-4.
IWC got scoring from a number of sources, as five players scored at least nine points. Fuqua and Davis Warner (Jr.-Murfreesboro, Tenn.) with 14 were the only two in double figures, but Jeff Harper (Jr.-Whiteville, Tenn.), Keenan Stanbridge (Sr.-Quincy, Ill.) and Jeremy Simmons (Jr.-Jackson, Tenn.) all scored nine points each.
Harper also posted a team-best nine rebounds, and Stanbridge and Simmons combined for six three-pointers, including five in the first half as the Tigers raced out to a 37-20 lead with 7:38 left in the half. Wesleyan hit eight of its first 14 three-point tries in building the lead and taking control of the game.
Hannibal-LaGrange fought back, though, as the Tigers cooled off. The Trojans got within 43-32 at halftime, and then used a 13-1 run early in the second half to get as close as 48-47 with 15:06 left in the game after a tip-in by Fernando Fernandez.
The visitors would get no closer, though, and Wesleyan would finally get control again with a 7-0 run. Fuqua broke away for a layup, Harper had a steal and dunk and Fuqua capped it with a free throw to make 62-52 with 6:01 left. IWC later added another 9-0 run in the final minutes, leading by as much as 15 late.
The Tigers finished the game shooting 43.5% from the field (27 of 62), including 9 of 25 (36%) from the three-point arc after missing 10 of their final eleven tries from long range. IWC also out-rebounded the Trojans 38-29. Joe Evans (Jr.-Jackson, Tenn.) added six rebounds and Dionte Mucker (Jr.-Louisville, Ky.) came off the bench to lead the team with six assists.
Hannibal-LaGrange shot 42% (21-for-50) and made five of 14 three-point attempts. Webber and Josh Boswell led HLG with 14 points each, while Fernando Fernandez added nine rebounds.
In Friday night’s first game Grand View University defeated Ozark Christian (Mo.) College 102-52. The Vikings shot 60.6% from the floor and dominated inside with a 58-20 advantage in points in the paint for an easy win.
The Kiwanis Classic continues Saturday with two more games. Grand View will face Hannibal-LaGrange at 1 p.m., with IWC hosting Ozark Christian at 3 p.m. Live video for both games will be available at www.iwc.edu/onlinemedia, and a live audio broadcast also will be available for the second game.
Box score IWC 71 HLG 58
Box score GVU 102 OCC 52