MOUNT PLEASANT – Brett Humpal (Sr.-Decorah, Iowa) scored 24 points and the Iowa Wesleyan College men’s basketball team made the clutch plays throughout the second half for a 77-72 win over Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) College in the Tigers’ season opener Thursday night at Ruble Arena.
Humpal, Da’kari Shelby (Sr.-O’Fallon, Ill.) and Keenan Stanbridge (Jr.-Quincy, Ill.) combined for 36 of the Tigers’ 46 second half points in a game IWC never trailed in the final 20 minutes but never was far from danger in, either. HLG came back from a 12-point deficit in the second half to tie the game and was within one possession in the final minute but dropped to 1-2 on the season.
The Tigers were out-rebounded by 15 in the game and didn’t particularly dominate in any one area but did commit five less turnovers than the Trojans and also made three more three-point baskets. The three-pointers were key in the first half, when IWC hit six threes in first building an early 10-point lead and then later taking the lead back just before halftime on a Humpal triple to make it 31-30 at the break.
Wesleyan would not trail again in the game, and Humpal’s three with 17:18 left in the game capped an 11-0 run to start the second half and give IWC a 42-30 lead. The Trojans were not done, though, and a free throw by Chad Reading tied the game at 52-52 with 9:49 left. Jason Garber (Sr.-Emden, Ill.) hit a pair of free throws on the Tigers’ next possession, but Hannibal-LaGrange did not go away and pulled within one point on two more occasions, the last time after Matt Schmechtig drained a three to make it 59-58 with 7:02 remaining.
The Tigers responded with a 9-2 run to take control, though, capped by Stanbridge’s put-back tip-dunk with 4:18 left to make it 68-60. HLG got back within three points two more times, the final time with 1:02 left in the game, but Garber grabbed an offensive rebound on Wesleyan’s next possession, and Humpal made two of four free throws in the final 20 seconds to seal the game.
Shelby, in his first game after transferring from William Woods University, added 13 points, including 10 in the second half, and also had a team-high seven rebounds. Stanbridge, a transfer from John Wood Community College, scored 12 points and made five of six field goals. IWC shot 44.8% for the game, making 26 of 58 shots, while the Trojans made 25 of 56 field goals (44.6%). Both teams also had some struggles at the free throw stripe, with Hannibal making 16 of 26 (61.5%) and Wesleyan converting 16 of 28 (57.1%).
IWC takes to the road for its next game Saturday at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo. Tip time is scheduled for 5 p.m.
For more information regarding the IWC men’s basketball program 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.