IWU men drop close game to Central College
BY ANDY KRUTSINGER
Mt. Pleasant News
Opening night for the Iowa Wesleyan men’s basketball team brought a packed crowd to Ruble Arena, and they saw a thriller of a season-opening game.
The Tigers rushed out to a 16-point first-half lead in the game, but Central College was able to re-take the lead before break and hang on at the end by the score of 98-92.
The Tigers lit up the gym to start the game, hitting six three-pointers in the first five-and-a-half minutes of the contest.
Brock Butler opened the scoring with a three ball and Marquis Jones, Mitch Drey, Steven Soukup, Austin Walker and Elijah Johnson each hit one to help IWU run out to a 24-8 lead.
The Dutch responded with a 24-7 run of their own, however, and took their first lead at 32-31 with just under eight minutes to go.
The Tigers took back the lead with a couple of free throws by Drey, but Central continued their run and led, 51-44, at halftime.
Central stretched their lead to 12 points early in the first half, at 63-51, but IWU wouldn’t go down without a fight.
The Tigers scrapped back to make it close late in the game. A full court press by the Tigers in the final seconds allowed them to make a serious threat to steal back the game.
After a three-point play by Steven Soukup that cut the lead to 94-89 with 32 seconds left. Butler forced a turnover on the next Dutch possession and Johnson hit a three-pointer with 26 seconds left to make it a two-point game, at 94-92.
Central, however, was able to hold on to the ball late and hit four straight free throws to win the game by six.
The Tigers had five players reach double digits in the loss. Steven led the way with 19 points on 6-10 shooting and 2-5 from three-point land, along with three assists.
Drey finished the game with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jones had 16 points. Michael had 14 points and three assists.
Johnson hit four three-pointers to reach 14 points on the night. Butler had seven points and Walker finished with five.
The Tigers will head to the Buzz Levick tournament in Waverly, Iowa for their next two games. They’ll play Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Friday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m., and they’ll play one game on Saturday at a time to be announced later.