CEDAR RAPIDS – Jason Garber (Sr.-Emden, Ill.) scored a career high 19 points and the Iowa Wesleyan College men’s basketball team kept rolling along as Mount Mercy College was no match in the Tigers’ 94-58 win Saturday afternoon.
IWC ran out to a 26-point lead in the first half alone and dominated the Mustangs in nearly all phases to win its seventh straight game. The Tigers also remained in a tie with Grand View University for first place in the Midwest Collegiate Conference and set the stage for a huge game with the Vikings Wednesday night at Wesleyan’s Ruble Arena.
The Tigers (15-9 overall, 11-2 MCC) shot 53.2% for the game (33-for-62) and held the Mustangs to 30.5% shooting (18-for-59). Wesleyan also hit 13 of 28 three-point tries (46.4%) and limited MMC to 4-for-23 shooting from beyond the arc.
Wesleyan shot 57.6% in the first half, making 19 of 33 shots, and hit eight three-pointers early in taking almost immediate control after the opening tip. Combining hot shooting with stifling defense, IWC never trailed and after a brief tie at 2-2 outscored Mount Mercy 27-2 over a nine-minute span for a 29-4 lead midway through the first half. The Tigers eventually led by as many as 26 points at 36-10, with Garber leading the way with 14 points in the first 20 minutes.
The Tigers led 50-35 at halftime after the Mustangs finished the first half on a 12-3 run to make the game competitive. Mount Mercy (12-12 overall, 5-7 MCC) briefly got within 12 points early in the second half before Wesleyan regained control again, this time for good. Garber and Stanbridge hit back-to-back three-pointers and Brett Humpal (Sr.-Decorah, Iowa) drove in for a lay-up to cap an 8-0 spurt that made it 59-39 with 16:24 left in the game. The Mustangs scored on two free throws on their next possession but never got closer the rest of the way, as IWC held the hosts to just five made field goals in 26 attempts in the second half (19.2%).
Humpal added 17 points and game honors in rebounds with eight, while Stanbridge had 14 points. Da’kari Shelby (Sr.-O’Fallon, Ill.) also had 11 points and a personal season-high seven assists. Wesleyan out-rebounded Mount Mercy 43-33, had 11 steals, and finished with 23 assists on its 33 field goals. In a sign of the team’s efficiency on offense, ten different players recorded assists.
The Tigers now get ready for a showdown for first place in the MCC on Wednesday night when Grand View visits Ruble Arena in a game that will play a big role in deciding both the conference’s regular season champion and the top seed for the postseason conference tournament. The top seed in the conference tournament also receives home court advantage throughout the tournament. GVU (also 11-2 in conference) won the first meeting between the teams, 66-56 in Des Moines on Jan. 14, IWC’s last loss before its current seven-game winning streak.
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.
Box score IWC 94 MMC 58