Tigers sink free throws, hold on for narrow win
QUINCY, Ill. — The Iowa Wesleyan men’s basketball team continued to roll last night, hitting free throws late in the game to claim a marrow win over NCAA Division II Quincy University, 83-82.
“We played a really good St. Ambrose team on Tuesday night, and then for the kids to be able to get up the next day and beat a Division II team on their floor ... well, it was a tremendous couple of nights of basketball for these kids,” Head Coach Jess Settles said.
The game was close throughout, as the Tigers went into the half tied with the Hawks, 42-42.
Kyle Warner put IWC on the board first with a three-pointer in the first minute of the game, and IWC had no trouble finding the basket in the first half, shooting an impressive 63 percent from the field.
Quincy hit 45.2 percent but took more shots and had more chances at the free throw line, where the Hawks went nine-for-11 in the first 20 minutes to keep up with the visiting Tigers.
IWC led by as many as nine points in the first half, going up 22-13, but the Hawks crept back to take a 42-40 lead late in the half.
Two free throws by Jon Umoren with three seconds left before halftime knotted the score.
The Hawks held the lead for most of the second half, going up by as many as seven points at 54-47.
The Tigers were finally able to take a lead with a Kyle Warner layup that gave IWC a 72-20 advantage.
The Tigers never relinquished the lead from there, though the Hawks kept it close, coming within one point at 79-78 and again at 81-80. Each time, IWC sank a pair of free throws to stretch the lead back to three.
Matt Schackow scored the first two to put IWC up 81-78, and Derrick Nillissen added two more a few seconds later, putting IWC at its final score and giving the Tigers an 83-80 advantage with 13 seconds left to play.
“Derrick Nillissen and Matt Schackow were clutch with their free throws down the stretch,” Settles said.
Quincy managed a couple free throws of its own to come within one point once more, but the Hawks’ last-second three-pointer was off its mark, as IWC held on for the win.
Warner led the offense on the night with 19 points, one of four Tigers to score in double figures.
Nillissen had 11 points for the Tigers, and Bruce Brooks came off the bench to add another 11 points. Cam Sanchez scored 10. All four of them had a lot of help from their point guard.
“Jon Umoren was brilliant with 14 assists,” Settles said. “It was an incredible performance. All 10 guys who played did really well.”
Tigers shot a season-high 62 percent for the game, and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
Warner and Joe Evans had six rebounds each on the night. Five different Tigers had one steal each. Sanchez had two blocks.
The win improves the Tigers to 4-1 on head coach Jess Settles second year.
Next up for the IWC team is a flight to Denver.
The Tigers, who have been playing what looks like a professional schedule, have the opportunity to see a professional game tonight when they watch the Denver Nuggets host the Miami Heat in an NBA matchup.
They then head to Alamosa, Colo., where they will take part in the Adams State Bankers Classic on Friday and Saturday.
The Tigers will play Adams State College and New Mexico Highlands University this weekend, both NCAA DII teams.
Lauren Menning contributed to this article. Menning is a communication major at Iowa Wesleyan College and is aiding in the sports information office.