Using a blend of good ball movement, sound defense and made free throws down the stretch, the Tritons (3-2 overall) looked like a whole new ballclub yesterday.
“It was a great win and I think we grew up a little,” said ICCC coach Dennis Pilcher. “We bounced back from a tough loss (the Tritons fell 70-66 Tuesday night at the hands of Southeastern Nebraska). We followed our gameplan, hammered it inside, and played very good defense.”
Minneapolis came out firing and gained an 11-4 advantage early thanks in large part to a trifecta of three-pointers.
Iowa Central settled down from there, however, and went on a game-changing 17-4 run. Greg Schulz and Spencer Shelman both drained a pair of triples, and Keith Kuenstling had back-to-back buckets in that run to push the Tritons ahead, 21-15.
‘‘We got down at the beginning, but we stayed steady and did what we had to do,” said Pilcher.
Kuentsling then scored two more buckets to extend the edge to 25-17.
Kuenstling finished with a game-high 25 points, four rebounds, and three assists.
‘‘We tell our guys to get the ball to Keith. We did that (Wednesday) and he had a heck of a game,’’ said Pilcher.
The teams then traded points the rest of the way out and the halftime score was 35-28.
Minneapolis showed some life and inched their way back into the game to start the second half. They got within one, but a Schulz triple and then a nice lay-in from Kuenstling after point guard Yusef Gray sliced his way through the Minneapolis defense and found the big man underneath made it 42-38. Iowa Central never looked back from there.
A15-3 run late — capped off by a Shelman three pointer and another pair of Kuentsling buckets — extended the edge to 67-53.
Shelman ended the night with 11 points.
The Tritons then knocked down 10 straight free throws down the stretch to seal the triumph.
Pilcher was very pleased with the play of Gray and Aaron Williams. The two combined for nine assists, 12 points, had only a handful of turnovers.
‘‘Yusef and Aaron played awfully well at the point for us. They created some plays and did a nice job of shutting down their point guard,’’ said Pilcher.
Keinon Collins added 10 points and six rebounds off the bench, while reserve Courtney Walters contributed four points and three blocks.
‘‘We got good minutes out of Collins and Walters, and that was huge,’’ said Pilcher.
The Tritons are in action next Wednesday night as they host Southeastern at 7 p.m.
Contact Eric Niesen at (515) 573-2141, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Iowa Central 77, Minneapolis CC 63
Iowa Central — Yusef Gray 5, Spencher Shelman 11, Greg Schulz 9, Keith Kuenstling 25, Tyler McManaman 6, Keinon Collins 10, Aaron Williams 7, Courtney Walters 4
Minneapolis — Bob Bilitz 4, Nick Ables 11, Quintan Jackson 14, Sean Mayberry 3, Sam Bivens 6, Cameron Hodges 14, Courtez Wallace 7
Messenger photo by Dana Recker
Iowa Central’s Keinon Collins goes up for a dunk in Wednesday night’s game against Minneapolis Community College.