WPU Knocks Off Rust in Win Over Defending National Champs

Q Cager had 19 points off the bench to help the Statesmen defeat the defending national champions.

Q Cager had 19 points off the bench to help the Statesmen defeat the defending national champions.

by Wade Steinlage

Oskaloosa–The Statesmen men’s basketball team utilized a balanced attack as it returned to action with an 86-77 Heart of America Athletic Conference win over Graceland Saturday.

#2 William Penn (14-1, 8-1 Heart), which had not seen the hardwood since December 11–a span of 25 days–defeated last year’s national champion by having five players in double figures.

The first half, which saw four ties and two lead changes, ended up with the navy and gold ahead 37-34 at the break. The hosts held a 45.5%-34.3% shooting edge at that point, but only made two of their eight free throws.

Life at the charity stripe improved greatly in the second stanza and so did the Statesmen advantage. William Penn erupted for 17 of the first 18 points in the first 4:29 of the latter period, seemingly putting the game on ice early. The navy and gold were still up 19 with 7:53 to go and held a substantial 12-point edge with only 81 ticks left. Unfortunately, the Yellowjackets (8-6, 4-5 Heart) made a strong push and trimmed the margin to five with 36 seconds to go.

WPU was forced to the free-throw line six times in the waning seconds and fortunately connected on five of those tries to officially wrap up the win. Overall, the victors were just 21-for-36 (58.3%) at the stripe, while GU stayed close with a 14-for-17 effort (82.4%). Abrian Edwards (Sr., Austin, Texas, Kinesiology) did a sizeable chunk of work 15 feet away as he was 7-for-11 en route to tying a game high with 20 points.

As a squad, William Penn outshot Graceland 47.5%-35.6%, including a 7-for-9 effort by Q Cager (Fr., Hopkinsville, Ky., Sports Management) as part of his 19 points off the bench in just under 20 minutes on the floor.

Omar Sherman (Sr., Duncanville, Texas) did not play (coach’s decision), giving Mario Manuel (So., Des Moines, Iowa, Sports Management) the start in the post and the sophomore performed admirably with 10 points and a team-best eight rebounds. Manuel also stole three passes in the triumph.

The Statesmen held off the Yellowjackets on the glass, 45-43, but had to overcome a 15-11 deficit in offensive rebounding that led to a 14-6 disadvantage in second-chance points.

Marlon Alcindor (Sr., Queens, N.Y., Sociology) got back to his sharp-shooting ways with a trio of three-pointers in a 14-point performance, while TaJuan Johnson (Jr., Chicago, Ill., Business Management) also reached double digits with 12 points.

The turnover battle was also won by William Penn (15-16), but the visitors snatched a 14-13 edge in points off mistakes. The Statesmen were also able to weather Graceland’s perimeter onslaught that witnessed 11 three-pointers; the Yellowjackets only shot 33.3% from deep, however. WPU was a bit better at 35.0% (7-for-20).

“This is a solid win for us after being off for over three weeks and being without Omar,” Head Coach John Henry said. “I thought our guards played really well, especially rebounding the ball.”

Next Up: William Penn remains in Oskaloosa next Thursday, hosting Mount Mercy in Heart action at 7:30 p.m.

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Posted by on Jan 6 2019. 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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