In a game defined by runs from each team, the Iowa Central men put together one final push and came away with a 63-37 win over Southwestern in Hodges Fieldhouse last night.
The Tritons, now 12-8 overall and 2-2 in the ICCAC, closed the game on a 29-10 run after the Spartans (7-10, 1-3) had trimmed a once double-digit lead down to just seven points early in the second half.
"That's kind of been our mode of attack this year," said Triton coach Dennis Pilcher. "We'll jump out to a lead and then we let up. On both ends of the floor we start to get into a position where we are ball watching. We don't continue to do what got us that lead."
Iowa Central got a balanced scoring attack with four players in double figures. Malik Brooks led the way with 14 points off the bench. Winston Yergler added 13, including 10 in the second half, while Javonte Young and Dylan Travis had 12 points each.
Elliott Hamdeed led the Spartans with 16 points. No other player reached double figures for Southwestern. Mataika Koyamainavure, the brother of Iowa Central women's player Miliakere Koyamainavure, scored nine points.
Despite a size disadvantage, the Tritons held Southwestern to just 14 of 49 shooting (28 percent). Iowa Central was an efficient 22 of 41 for 54 percent from the field.
Iowa Central 63, Southwestern 37
Iowa Central Winston Yergler 5-6 1-1 13, Jesse Jones 1-3 1-6 3, Ky Kramer 1-4 0-0 3, Javonte Young 4-7 3-4 12, Dylan Travis 5-11 1-2 12, Jasmin Biberovikj 2-3 2-2 6, Puot Kudhot 0-1 0-0 0, Malik Brooks 4-6 4-4 14, Luke Guenther 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-41 12-19 63.
Southwestern Larry Mason 0-4 0-0 0, Mataika Koyamainavure 4-10 1-4 9, Elliott Hamdeed 6-13 1-2 16, Nick Lenhard 1-5 0-0 2, Jared Theis 0-2 1-2 2, Dylan Tucker 0-4 1-4 1, Tanner Kellogg 1-5 0-1 3, Nikola Drobnjak 1-5 0-0 3, Dustin Lyden 1-1 0-0 2, Xavier Ortiz 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-49 4-13 37.
Score at half: Iowa Central 30, Southwestern 20.
Three-point shots: Iowa Central 7-17 (Yergler 2-3, Kramer 1-4, Young 1-2, Travis 1-4, Brooks 2-4.) Southwestern 5-15 (Mason 0-2, Koyamainavure 0-1, Hamdeed 3-6, Lenhard 0-3, Kellogg 1-2, Drobnjak 1-1).
Total fouls: Iowa Central 14, Southwestern 14.
The Tritons held Southwestern to just 17 points in the second half on 7 of 25 shooting.
"We played pretty good team defense. Young is just playing so well for us on defense. He's really upped his game," added Pilcher. "Yergler did a great job in the second half and Ky Kramer did a great job against their bigs. He's a guard playing the five spot."
Iowa Central had a 17-point lead with 4:53 left in the first half, holding the Spartans scoreless for nearly eight minutes to lead 25-8. But Southwestern closed the first half with a 12-5 run and it was just 30-20 at the half.
The lead went to 34-22 three minutes into the second half, but the Spartans used a quick five-point run to cut the lead to 34-27 with 15:31 in the game, getting two buckets from Koyamainavure and a free throw by Jared Thies.
Iowa Central then scored the next seven points to go up 41-27 with 13:04 to play. Yergler had five of the seven.
The lead grew to 46-32 with 10:40 to play then the Tritons put it away with a 10-0 run, led by another five-point burst from Yergler, to lead 56-32 with 6:50 left.
"We just have to get consistent going forward," said Pilcher. "We'll have ups and downs, but we can't get too high or get too low. We've got to get a lead and then keep the same pace and maintain that lead. You're going to have runs in basketball, but we really can't afford to have any big ones."
These teams played three close games last year. In fact, all three went to overtime. Iowa Central won two of the three meetings.
Iowa Central returns to action Saturday traveling to Iowa Falls to take on Ellsworth. The Panthers took a 14-2 overall mark and 2-0 ICCAC mark into last night's game against DMACC.