MOUNT PLEASANT – Bethel (Ind.) College hit nine three-pointers in the first half on the way to a 20-point halftime lead, and the Pilots rolled to an 84-68 win over Iowa Wesleyan College in the finale of the Kiwanis Classic at Ruble Arena.
Bethel, ranked #2 in the NAIA Division II coaches poll, got 20 points off the bench from Caleb Laidig to remain undefeated on the season at 8-0. The Tigers also got strong bench contributions from several players but committed 23 turnovers and dropped to 4-4 this season.
The Tigers hung with the powerful Pilots for most of the first half before the visitors finished the half with a flurry. Wesleyan had come back from an earlier 11-point deficit and trailed by just six after two free throws by Brett Humpal (Sr.-Decorah, Iowa) with 7:08 left in the half. Bethel responded, though, by outscoring IWC 18-5 over the final 6:12 and hitting five three-pointers in that span for a 48-28 halftime lead. Laidig had 18 points in the first half alone and made all five of his three-point attempts as the Pilots were 9-for-15 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes.
IWC attempted to chip away at the lead in the second half but mostly could only trade baskets with the Pilots. The Tigers did whittle the margin down to 15 points with 6:26 left after a three-pointer by Patrick Macki (Jr.-London, England) but got no closer.
Humpal led Wesleyan with 22 points and added six rebounds and eight assists and was named to the all-tournament team for the third straight year. Da’kari Shelby (Sr.-O’Fallon, Ill.) scored 17 points off the bench and Macki added 13 points off the bench, including four three-pointers. Mike Lowe (Jr.-Panora, Iowa) led IWC with eight rebounds. The Tigers shot 40.0% for the game (24 of 60) and finished the tourney with a 0-2 record in their two games.
William Walker added 20 points for Bethel and was named the Kiwanis Classic MVP. Both Laidig and Bethel teammate Ryne Lightfoot also were named to the all-tourney team. Also making the all-tournament team were Chase Vander Feen of Briar Cliff University and Matt Schmechtig of Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) College.
In the first game on Saturday Briar Cliff held on for a 73-69 win over Hannibal-LaGrange. Vander Feen scored 25 points and Briar Cliff hit 10 three-pointers to offset a 44-30 rebounding advantage for the Trojans and 20 points from Schmechtig, who was the tourney’s leading scorer with 51 points. Briar Cliff joined Bethel in finishing 2-0 in the Kiwanis Classic, while Hannibal-LaGrange finished 0-2 in the tourney.
IWC returns to the court next Saturday to face Hannibal-LaGrange on the road in the team’s second meeting of the season. Wesleyan won the first game 76-71 at Ruble Arena on Nov. 6. Game time in Hannibal will be 4 p.m.
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.