POINT LOOKOUT, MO. – Iowa Wesleyan College shot just 32% and could never dig out of an early hole, falling 69-47 to Oregon Tech in the first round of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Tournament at Keeter Gymnasium on the College of the Ozarks campus.
IWC had a bad time for its coldest shooting performance of the season, as the Tigers made just 16 of 50 shots in the game. Despite hanging tough for much of the night, the Tigers never could make a serious dent into an early 12-point deficit and saw their season end at 20-11.
Wesleyan fell behind 14-2 in the first five minutes of the game and spent the rest of the night battling back. The defending national champion Hustlin’ Owls (29-5) made good use of a big size advantage up front to get a number of baskets in the paint in the early going and push the margin to double digits quickly.
Despite a tough start and cold shooting, the Tigers did not fold and stayed within striking distance the rest of the first half. Wesleyan got within nine points on several occasions and despite missing on a few chances to get closer still trailed just 36-25 at halftime.
IWC got within nine points again early in the second half, including 39-30 after a basket inside by Brett Humpal (Sr.-Decorah, Iowa). The Tigers were always a few shots or a few plays away from making a final run, though, and continued icy shooting from the field and the free throw line took its toll in the final 12 minutes. The Owls finally put the game away with a 16-5 run midway through the second half and kept their record perfect at 13-0 in first round games in the national tourney.
The Tigers made just six of 25 shots in the second half and also struggled all game from the free throw line and behind the three-point arc. Wesleyan made just nine of 19 free throws (47.4%) and hit just six of 21 three-point tries (28.6%), missing a number of open looks in the second half.
In contrast, the Owls shot 51.7% for the night, making 30 of 58 shots. Oregon Tech also out-rebounded IWC 36-30, including 14 offensive rebounds, many coming in the second half off long rebounds from missed three-point tries.
Humpal led IWC with 18 points and seven rebounds and finishes his career second all-time in scoring at the school. Jason Garber (Sr.-Emden, Ill.) added seven points and Da’kari Shelby (Sr.-O’Fallon, Ill.) had six points and eight rebounds.
Josh Wetzler led Oregon Tech with 19 points and 16 rebounds. The #7 seed nationally in the tourney, the Hustlin’ Owls advanced to a Sweet 16 matchup against Bellevue (Neb.) University, a rematch of last year’s national title game.
IWC is now winless in four trips to national tourney play, including 0-3 in the Division II tourney. The Tigers also previously lost in the first round in 2004 and 2006.
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 #7 OIT 69 IWC 47