Defense Stands Out in Second Win Over MMU

Cedar Rapids — Winning twice over a team in conference is always a challenge. Pulling off that feat over the span of four nights adds another degree of difficulty that the Statesmen had to overcome. Regardless, the William Penn men’s basketball team pulled away late in the first half en route to a 76-58 victory over Mount Mercy. The team is now 10-0 overall and 8-0 in Heart of America Athletic Conference play.

Once again, the Mustangs got things going as they scored the first three of the night. WPU took almost three minutes to score, but Karmari Newman (Sr., Detroit, Mich., Digital Communication) put in a jumper to make it 3-2. The teams then exchanged some misses before Kevion Blaylock (Sr., Houston, Texas, Information Technology) gave the Statesmen their first lead of the game at 4-3.

The Mustangs would regain the lead and they sat four points clear of the navy and gold at the halfway mark of the first half. Blaylock and Chanze Cruesoe (So., St. Louis, Mo., Business Management) scored on back-to-back possessions to reverse the scoreboard and give the Statesmen a 15-14 lead. That was part of a 11-3 run over four minutes that gave the Statesmen a 21-17 lead with five minutes to go.

With two minutes left until the break, MMU sat two points back, but the Statesmen had another gear to shift into. They delivered nine straight points to battle through the adversity and take a 33-22 lead into halftime.

The team shot 52% in the first 20, while Faison led the team with eight points.

The second half started with another Mount Mercy score, but Blaylock fought for position down low and scored the answer at the other end. That started a quick 5-0 run for the navy and gold, but the Mustangs found a way to answer with two straight threes. Q Cager (Sr., Hopkinsville, Ky., Wellness & Recreation) got WPU back on the board and as the minutes flew by, William Penn led 46-32.

Both sides struggled to score until Eddie Daley (Sr., DeWitt, Mich., Business Management) turned and buried a shot with 8:49 to go. Up 20, the Statesmen used their defense to lock down the Mustangs the rest of the way. The Mustangs made only 10 three-point shots all night and had only one 10-point scorer.

The Statesmen, despite a slow start, shot 45% from the floor and they were 27% from downtown. They also made 18 of 28 of their free throws (64%) and once again controlled the rebounding game. The squad secured 14 offensive boards and 39 defensive ones (53 total) compared to 28 total rebounds for the Mustangs (2 offensive, 26 defensive). WPU had nine steals and forced MMU into 18 turnovers.

The team was led by a combination of Brandon Faison (Sr., Charlotte, N.C., Sports Management) and Blaylock, as each had 13 points. Blaylock notched yet another double-double with ten boards even though he also fouled out. It was a career night for Cruesoe as he set a new high with 11 points, while he found four rebounds and collected two assists. Cager had 10 points, while Daley just missed a double-double with nine points and 12 rebounds.

Next Up: The Statesmen will face the Park Pirates, the newcomers of the conference, in their next game. Tipoff will be at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday, December 15.

Posted by on Dec 11 2020. Filed under College Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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