MOUNT PLEASANT – Buoyed much of the season by its offense, Iowa Wesleyan College relied on its defense much of the way in a 79-56 win over St. Ambrose University Wednesday night, the Tigers’ sixth straight win.
The Tigers held the Fighting Bees to 34.4% shooting for the game, including just one made three-point field goal in 20 tries. The defense helped IWC more than overcome some offensive cool spells and lift the team to 10-2 in the Midwest Collegiate Conference and 14-9 overall this season.
In an uneven game that featured 48 fouls and saw a parade to the foul line in the second half, Wesleyan was the more consistent team. The Tigers’ shooting hovered around the 40% mark for much of the game until the team hit its final six shots late in the game to finish at 46.4% (26-for-56). IWC also hit just five of 25 three-point attempts (20.0%) and was 22 of 34 from the free throw line (64.7%).
While unspectacular, Wesleyan’s shooting was still much better than the Bees’ marksmanship. In addition to making just 34% of its shots and being ice cold from three-point range, St. Ambrose also hit just 11 of 26 free throws (42.3%). The visitors also played much of the game from behind as the Tigers took a double-digit lead early in the first half and sustained it most of the game before winning going away late.
IWC took control during a 17-3 run midway through the first half, with Josh Hogue (Jr.-Oxford, Iowa) hitting a three-pointer to cap it and make it 24-9 with 9:19 left in the half. The Tigers’ scoring pace slowed the rest of the half, but SAU couldn’t get any closer than eight the rest of the half as Wesleyan still took a 35-25 lead into halftime.
The Tigers pushed the lead out to 18 points early in the second half when Matt Lafrenz (Sr.-Bennett, Iowa) capped an 11-2 spurt by scoring in the paint to make it 47-29. The Bees chipped away, though, and got the lead down to single digits three times, the last time after Adam Parrot’s two free throws made it 59-50 with 8:15 left.
Wesleyan opened it up the rest of the way, though, including a 10-0 run that was capped by a jumper by Michael Coons (Sr.-Hannibal, Mo.) to make it 72-52 with 3:38 remaining. The Tigers finished the game on a 20-6 run in exacting revenge for an overtime loss to the Bees Jan. 7 on SAU’s home court.
Brett Humpal (Sr.-Decorah, Iowa) scored 22 points and had eight rebounds and four steals to lead the Tigers in all three categories. Keenan Stanbridge (Jr.-Quincy, Ill.) had 17 points and a game-high five assists, while Coons added 16 points and four assists.
IWC remains tied for first place in the MCC with Grand View University, which defeated Waldorf College on Wednesday. The Tigers now go on the road Saturday to face rival Mount Mercy College at 3 p.m. in Cedar Rapids.
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; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score IWC 79 SAU 56