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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 26, 2017

Johnson's three lifts IW men over Webster

Jan 05, 2017
Photo by: Andy Krutsinger Iowa Wesleyan players celebrate a thrilling win on Wednesday night.

BY ANDY KRUTSINGER

Mt. Pleasant News

The Iowa Wesleyan men led for less than two seconds of their SLIAC game with Webster on Wednesday night, but those two seconds were enough to steal a win.

The Tigers stormed back from a 12-point deficit with three minutes remaining and stole the game from the Gorloks on a cold-blooded three-pointer by Elijah Johnson, with just 1.7 seconds left.

IW struggled early to match up with the bigger Gorloks, especially after postman Mitchell Drey went down with an injury in the opening minutes.

That forced the Tigers to play with guards and smaller forwards for the vast majority of the game.

Webster used the size advantage to jump out to a double-digit lead in the first half. The Gorloks led by as much as 18 points at 32-14, with 5:42 remaining in the half.

The Tigers were able to storm back to cut the lead to six points, however, thanks in part to two three-pointers from Austin Walker and two from Brock Butler.

After one half of basketball, the Gorlok lead was down to 36-30.

IW was able to get the lead down to one point, at 38-37, early in the second half, but the Gorloks went on another big run.

Webster led by as much as 13 points in the second half but it was a 12-point advantage with three minutes remaining that made the game seem out of reach.

IW hit a few shots, however, and picked up in a full court press, which helped the smaller Tigers create fastbreak points.

“(The press) worked really well,” said Tiger head coach Alex Huisman. “That’s not something we’ve done a tonf in practice. It was more just needed in the situation.”

Johnson and Butler each hit a three-pointer during the IW run. Austin Walker cut the lead to 84-82, on a midrange shot with nine seconds left, and the Tigers put Webster’s Adam Etter on the line with a foul.

Etter missed the front end of the one-and-one. Michael Soukup worked the ball up court and found Johnson open on the top of the key. Johnson took the shot and sent a dagger through the nets with 1.7 seconds left on the clock.

The Gorloks had a chance to steal the game back with a half-court look but the shot was way off and IW celebrated their one-point win.

“Credit the guys, they came down and kept their cool,” said Huisman after the win. “(Johnson) stepped in and made a big shot.”

After the game, Huisman said the win was “definitely up there” with his most exciting games to coach.

“This is one that we’re going to remember forever,” he said. “That was fun.”

Butler finished with 26 points on 9-16 shooting and 6-10 from three-point land. Johnson hit five threes in the game to finish with 16 points. Steven Soukup had 14 points and eight rebounds.

Austin Walker had 13 points in the win. C.J. Singletary scored 10, and Michael finished with six points and 10 assists.

The Tigers moved to 8-4 overall and 4-1 in SLIAC play. They’ll try to hold on to their first place standing on Saturday, Jan. 7, against Greenville College, at 3 p.m.

 

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