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ICCC men pull away from Trojans

Photo by Paul DeCoursey Iowa Central's Uzo Dibiamaka drives to the basket against NIACC on Wednesday inside Hodges Fieldhouse. The Tritons defeated the Trojans, 75-64.

The Iowa Central men found their early-season calling here Wednesday night inside Hodges Fieldhouse.

Behind a 20-1 run spearheaded by their defensive intensity, the Tritons scored a 75-64 victory over North Iowa Area.

Uzo Dibiamaka led five players in double figures with 16 points, and Javonte Keck recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

“Defense travels,” Iowa Central head coach Chad Helle said. “It’s an old saying that I’ve always stuck by. You might have nights when you aren’t getting shots to fall, but if you continue to play defense, good things will happen.”

Behind 53-50, the Tritons (1-0 overall, 1-0 in ICCAC) put it all together, scoring 14 consecutive points over a three-minute stretch to give themselves a cushion against the Trojans.

After missing 14 of 18 three-pointers in the first 20 minutes, Iowa Central hit 8 of 17 over the last 20 and improved its overall shooting from the field. They also out-rebounded NIACC by 10 in the second half.

“We really did a lot of good things there over that stretch of basketball,” Helle said. “We’ve got some experienced kids, but a lot still learning the game.

“We played 10 guys and maybe that is what we’ll do. We’ve got to work out the right rotations, but I liked what I saw.”

Freshman PJ Ngambi had 14 points and three steals, with classmate Jaxon Smith adding 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Ayris Abdelnassar, one of three returning players, chipped in 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.

NIACC was able to cut the deficit to 10 before an Abdelnassar triple helped seal the victory.

Noah Rigatuso had a game-high 22 points for the Trojans, with McKelary Robertson adding 10.

Iowa Central returns to action on Saturday, hosting Iowa Western at 3 p.m. inside Hodges Fieldhouse.

IOWA CENTRAL 75, NIACC 64

Iowa Central — PJ Ngambi 4-14 5-8 14, Jordan Majeed 0-6 0-2 0, Javonte Keck 5-8 1-2 12, Cham Deng 1-7 0-0 2, Uzo Dibiamaka 6-9 2-2 16, Ayris Abdelnassar 2-5 4-5 10, Zavian Ricks 0-1 0-0 0, Cornell Richardson 2-3 0-0 6, Jaxon Smith 4-5 1-2 12, Jayden Stephens 1-1 0-0 3. Totals: 25-59 13-21 75.

NIACC — Cameron Vaughn 1-8 0-0 2, McKelary Robertson 3-15 2-2 10, Noah Rigatuso 9-12 2-4 22, Bradley Andrews 2-9 3-4 7, Devon’dre Mayfield 0-0 0-0 0, Tysen Brennan 3-7 2-2 8, Jeffrey Skogen 1-2 0-0 2, Marshaun Carroll 3-7 1-1 9, Jaden Horton 2-6 0-2 4, Payton Breedlove 0-1 0-0 0, Phil Redd 0-1 0-0 0, Blake Graham 0-1 0-2 0. Totals: 24-69 10-17 64.

Halftime score: NIACC led 38-36. Three-point goals: Iowa Central 12-35 (Ngambi 1, Keck 1, Dibiamaka 2, Abdelnassar 2, Richardson 2, Smith 3, Stephens 1), NIACC 6-32. Total rebounds: Iowa Central 42, NIACC 46. Assists: Iowa Central 16, NIACC 13. Blocked shots: Iowa Central 2, NIACC 4. Steals: Iowa Central 5, NIACC 6. Turnovers: Iowa Central 12, NIACC 12. Fouls: Iowa Central 17, NIACC 21.

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