Statesmen Claim Conference Tournament Title

It was the sixth tournament victory in the John Henry era.

Oskaloosa—William Penn proved itself to be the alpha dog in Heart of America Athletic Conference as they captured the tournament title to pair alongside its regular season championship.

The Statesmen (30-3) split with the Pride (24-9) in the regular season but won the rubber match on the biggest stage to this point of the season with a 96-90 victory.

WPU jumped out to a 14-4 opening lead shortly after the jump with Karmari Newman (Jr., Detroit, Mich., Digital Communication) getting off to a good start with five points. Clarke responded with a run of their own to cut the lead to one on multiple occasions, including at the 7:50 mark when a free-throw made it 25-24. The navy and gold then built back an 11-point lead before a late run by the Pride cut the deficit to just four, 43-39, as the squads went into the break.

William Penn did not trail at any point in the first half but Clarke caught them in the second half as they took a 52-50 lead just four minutes in. The home team responded quickly though as they regained the lead courtesy of a Nathan Gehring (Jr., Waukee, Iowa) bucket to make it 60-58. After trading shots and leads over the next few minutes, WPU took the lead for good with 7:45 to play as Josh Watkins (Jr., Chicago, Ill., Sports Management) nailed a three to give the team a 72-69 advantage.

They opened up the lead to as many as nine but the Pride wouldn’t go away without a fight as they cut the lead to just four points with 21 seconds left. Newman was subsequently fouled on the following possession and converted on both the free-throws to put the game and conference tournament title on ice.

WPU outshot CU by a slight margin, 49%-47% from the field, despite being outshot from beyond the arc, 44%-20%.

Two Statesmen logged double-double efforts as Gehring put up 26 points to go along with 17 boards. Kevion Blaylock (Jr., Houston, Texas, Information Technology) compiled one as well, posting 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Dexter Hood (Sr., Tuscaloosa, Ala.) was 9-18 shooting and finished with 25 points in the win while Watkins and Newman narrowly missed out on double-figures in the scoring department with nine each.

Q Cager (Jr., Hopkinsville, Ky., Wellness and Recreation) was the top facilitator for the navy and gold as he finished with five assists.

It was the 12th time in the John Henry era that WPU Basketball has made the conference tournament final and the seventh the time a team has won it.

Next Up: William Penn will await its matchup for the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round and will find out who they play on Wednesday at 7 pm.

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

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