WPU Fall to Ranked Bees in MCC Opener
Oskaloosa–The Statesmen men’s basketball team nearly overcame a lackluster day, but eventually lost 79-75 to #22 St. Ambrose in Midwest Collegiate Conference action Saturday.
William Penn (10-6, 0-1 MCC) shot just 35.7% from the field and 51.4% from the line, but narrowed a 15-point deficit to one possession in the waning seconds. Unfortunately, the Fighting Bees (12-5, 1-1 MCC) had enough left to hang on in a matchup that many believe featured two of the league’s top programs.
The home squad struggled out of the gate, trailing 13-3 early. Still down 35-20 with 6:07 left in the first half, the Statesmen went on a mini run to trail just 39-31 at intermission. The navy and gold, which had not played since December 18, showed some rust with a 31.4% shooting clip before the break.
William Penn continued to trail by double figures for much of the second stanza. Still behind by ten at 69-59 with 4:18 on the clock, the Statesmen finally made their biggest push. Nine of the next 11 points were scored by WPU to pull within three points with 1:55 left. St. Ambrose unfortunately had an answer to the rally, and despite only hitting 40.0% of its shots, the Fighting Bees left Penn Gymnasium victorious.
The Statesmen turned the ball over 15 times (11 takeaways), leading to a 12-7 SAU edge in points off mistakes. A 51-48 rebounding edge allowed WPU to outscore the visitors 20-15 in second-chance points. Erik McGee (Jr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Elementary Education) topped the glass effort with 12 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end.
Tyler Stahle (So., Bountiful, Utah, Business Management) was the leading scorer with 15 points off the bench, while Kelly Madison (Jr., Des Moines, Iowa, Physical Education) poured in 14 points. Marc Wilson (Sr., Los Angeles, Calif., Physical Education), with 12, and Blake Walker (Sr., Rose Garden, Physical Education), with 11 and seven assists, also hit the mark. Wilson also blocked three shots and stole three passes.
Roberts Baltruns (So., Riga, Latvia, Business Management) managed nine points, while Logan Alexander (So., Eddyville, Iowa, Undecided) contributed eight Saturday.
Next: William Penn remains in Oskaloosa Wednesday to host AIB in MCC play at 7:30 p.m.