MOUNT PLEASANT – Brett Humpal (Sr.-Decorah, Iowa) and Da’kari Shelby (Sr.-O’Fallon, Ill.) combined for 45 points and Iowa Wesleyan College needed every one of them to fend off Viterbo (Wis.) University 74-68 in Midwest Collegiate Conference play Saturday afternoon.
The two seniors helped the Tigers answer the V-Hawks every time the visitors made a run in the second half, as Humpal scored 26 points and Shelby added 19 to keep IWC just ahead of Viterbo down the stretch. With the win Wesleyan moved to 16-10 overall and improved to 12-3 in the MCC with one regular season game left to play.
IWC shot 48.0% for the game (24 of 50) and hit nine three-pointers. In fact, the Tigers never trailed after taking an 11-10 lead on a steal and lay-in by Humpal with 14:02 left in the first half. At the same time, Wesleyan was never able to pull away from the V-Hawks either. The Tigers never led by more than nine points and had to play through three ties in the game, including two late in the second half.
Viterbo started the game strong with a quick 8-1 run out of the gate before IWC rebounded to take the lead. The Tigers led by as much as six when Jared Callanan (Jr.-Bennington, Vt.) hit his second three-pointer of the game to make it 28-22 with 6:25 left in the half, but the V-Hawks continued to hang around and trailed just 34-30 at halftime.
Wesleyan pushed the lead out to nine points on two occasions early in the second half, the last time at 53-44 with 11:31 left. The V-Hawks battled back to tie twice, though, the second time after Eric Ambrose hit a three-pointer with 5:32 left to make it 60-60.
IWC came back with six straight points, though, with Shelby, Jason Garber (Sr.-Emden, Ill.) and Humpal all scoring on lay-ups. Viterbo crawled back within one yet again after a lay-up by Nick Stilwell made it 67-66 with 1:51 to go, but Humpal hit a pair of free throws and then Shelby tipped in a Humpal miss with 29 seconds left to finally put the Tigers in control.
Along with his 26 points, Humpal also added nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals. He hit six of nine shots from the field, including three three-pointers, and made 11 of 13 free throw attempts. Shelby also added 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting, despite playing just 22 minutes due to foul trouble. The game was the final regular season home game for six seniors, including Humpal, Shelby, Garber, Michael Coons (Sr.-Hannibal, Mo.), Brad Leverston (Sr.-Markham, Ill.) and Matt Lafrenz (Sr.-Bennett, Iowa).
Scott Buschman led Viterbo with 23 points and 15 rebounds. The V-Hawks dropped to 12-16 overall, 8-6 in the MCC, but still clinched the fourth seed and a first round home game for the conference tournament after Mount Mercy College lost to William Penn University on Saturday.
The Tigers remain ½ game ahead of William Penn for second in the MCC with only a date at Waldorf College next Saturday before the MCC tourney. IWC will open the tourney Feb. 25th at home at 7 p.m. against an opponent to be determined.
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 IWC 74 Viterbo 68