Few style points were recorded by the Iowa Central men's basketball team here Saturday.
Making their first home appearance of the new year, the Tritons (11-8 overall) overcame a lackluster performance en route to a 78-69 victory over Dakota County (Minn.) at Hodges Fieldhouse.
"I feel miserable by the way we played," said ICCC head coach Dennis Pilcher, who now ranks 11th all-time and fifth among active NJCAA coaches with 775 career wins. "Our execution on both ends of the floor was just bad.
"(The Blue Knights) came all the way back after we had them down big in the first half. I really don't know how we won, but we did."
Reserve sophomore guard Javonte Young delivered a season-high 24 points for Iowa Central, including 18 in the second half. Young finished 10-for-12 from the field to go along with six rebounds.
"Young did a nice job of taking the ball to the hole," Pilcher said. "I thought he was probably the difference for us in the end."
IOWA CENTRAL 78, DAKOTA COUNTY 69
Iowa Central - Puot Kudhot 2-4 0-0 5, Winston Yergler 2-2 3-4 8, Jesse Jones 0-6 4-5 4, Ky Kramer 3-7 3-4 11, Jasmin Biberovikj 1-3 0-0 2, Ben Hunt 0-0 0-0 0, Dylan Travis 4-12 7-11 17, Javonte Young 10-12 3-7 24, Brandon Berry 1-3 0-0 2, Malik Brooks 0-0 3-4 3, Logan Losh 0-0 2-2 2. Totals: 23-49 25-37 78.
Dakota County - Cole Piepkorn 4-11 0-0 11, Darrion Scott 3-6 0-0 6, Andrew Aakre 5-12 0-0 11, Phil Rholl 0-1 0-0 0, Tim Lott 4-6 1-1 9, Blake LaFonntaine 3-6 0-0 7, Jamar Kelly 4-4 1-2 10, Nate Lehmann 0-1 1-2 1, Will Kalberg-Taylor 4-9 4-5 12, Cliff Gatonye 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 28-59 7-10 69.
Halftime score: Iowa Central led 33-26. Three-point goals: Iowa Central 7-17 (Kudhot 1-1, Yergler 1-2, Jones 0-2, Kramer 2-4, Travis 2-5, Young 1-2, Berry 0-1); Dakota County 6-15 (Piepkorn 3-9, Aakre 1-2, Lott 0-1, LaFonntaine 1-2, Kelly 1-1). Total rebounds: Iowa Central 30, Dakota County 34. Turnovers: Iowa Central 13, Dakota County 20. Total fouls: Iowa Central 9, Dakota County 23. Fouled out: LaFonntaine.
Dylan Travis (17) and Ky Kramer (11) each scored in double figures as well for the Tritons. Travis also grabbed six boards.
Iowa Central, which received 48 points from its bench, went 25-for-37 at the charity stripe compared to just 7 of 10 for Dakota County. Eleven different Tritons saw action, with 10 of those making at least one hoop.
"We would've won by 20 points or more if we had finished at the basket and made our free throws," said Pilcher. "Our guys think they're going to get hit, flinch, and then just don't finish around the rim. I was very disappointed in the play of our guards, and our post guys aren't getting the job done right now, either."
After building a seemingly commanding 29-9 advantage midway through the opening half, the Tritons watched the Blue Knights eventually slice the deficit to a single point behind a 31-12 run. Iowa Central then answered right back with a 9-0 burst of its own to pull away once again. Down the stretch in the last five minutes, the visitors never got closer than five points.
"We've got some players that just refuse to communicate on defense," Pilcher said. "Until we stop being so selfish, we're not going to get any better."
Will Kalberg-Taylor anchored the balanced attack for Dakota County (5-12) with 12 points off the bench. Cole Piepkorn and Andrew Aakre each netted 11.
With the loss, the Blue Knights fell for the sixth time in their past seven games. Dakota County is now just 1-7 on the road this season.
In their earlier meeting back on Nov. 26, Iowa Central rolled to an 80-62 triumph at Dakota County.
Winners of two straight games, the Tritons welcome ICCAC foe Southwestern (7-9) Wednesday night. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m. The Spartans dropped a 76-68 decision to 10th-ranked (NJCAA Div. II) Ellsworth on Saturday.