FAYETTE, MO. – Jeff Harper (Jr.-Whiteville, Tenn.) scored 17 points and the Iowa Wesleyan College men’s basketball team withstood a number of turnovers to edge Central Methodist (Mo.) University 58-56 Tuesday night at CMU’s Puckett Field House.
The Tigers withstood a pair of potential game-winning three-point attempts in the final three seconds to earn a season sweep of the series, backing up a season-opening victory of Central Methodist to improve to 7-1 overall. The Runnin’ Eagles, an NAIA Division I member school, dropped to 5-4 this year.
IWC came back from a four-point deficit with 3:30 remaining in the game as Harper scored the tying and later the go-ahead points in the final minutes. Wesleyan also got a big basket from Davis Warner (Jr.-Murfreesboro, Tenn.) with a minute left for what proved to be the winning bucket.
The Tigers won a game that was filled with turnovers and missed shots. The two teams combined for 44 turnovers, including 24 by IWC. Wesleyan also held Central Methodist just 31.6% shooting from the field, as the Eagles made 18 of 57 shots.
IWC finished the first half on a 7-0 run to lead 32-26 at halftime, and then scored the first six points out of the break to take its largest lead at 38-26. The Eagles clawed back, though, finally taking the lead back on a jumper by Tyler Bredehoeft that made it 49-48 with 5:42 remaining in the game.
CMU eventually led by as many as four, but Harper converted a pair of free throws with 2:32 left to tie it, and then scored inside with 1:38 remaining to give IWC a 56-54 lead. Warner then scored on the Tigers’ next possession while getting fouled, to make it 58-54. The Eagles scored with 48 seconds left to get within two and had two chances to tie in the final three seconds, but both three-point attempts were off the mark.
Dionte Mucker (Jr.-Louisville, Ky.) was the only other Tiger in double figures scoring with 12 points off the bench. Nate Fuqua (Sr.-Maywood, Ill.) and Reggie Shipp (Sr.-Aurora, Ill.) both added eight points each. Wesleyan shot 23 of 55 (41.8%) for the game and was out-rebounded 38-35.
Curtis Smith led CMU with 13 points. Bredehoeft added 12 and Daniel Pierre had 11 points and nine rebounds. The Tigers defeated the Eagles 84-64 in their first meeting on Nov. 5 as part of the Mount Mercy University Bosch Financial Shootout.
Iowa Wesleyan next will open Midwest Collegiate Conference play on Saturday against Viterbo (Wis.) University at 3 p.m. as part of a women’s/men’s doubleheader. A live broadcast will be available online at www.iwc.edu/onlinemedia.
Box score IWC 58 CMU 56