Council Bluffs, IA -- The Iowa Western men's basketball team returned to it's winning ways with a hard fought 91-88 conference victory over Northeast (NE) at Reiver Arena Saturday evening (2/3/18). With the win the Reivers move to 20-5 on the season with five regular season games remaining and marks the 16th time in the last 17 seasons that the Reivers have reached the 20 win plateau. It is also the 19th time overall Iowa Western has reached at least 20 wins since the program moved to the NJCAA Division 1 level in the 1997.
The Hawks from Northeast stormed out of the gate surprising a Reiver team that had only played one home game out of it's last five contests, taking a quick 11 to 4 lead. The Reivers settled in and took their first lead at 15-13 after eight minutes of basketball. From then on the Reivers and Hawks shared leads for much of the fist half. Decardo Day scored two free throws right before the half to send his team into the locker room with a 43-40 halftime lead. After intermission the Hawks once again beat the Reivers off the starters blocks with a mini 6-0 run. However, after a Patrick Dembley three point field goal and a Emmanuel Ugboh dunk, the Reivers regained the lead. From then on out the Reivers controlled the lead most of the second frame; several times extending the lead to double figures. Northeast was game however, in particular Steve Wooten who would finish the contest with a game high 41 points; timely key baskets and clutch free throws down the stretch finished the Hawks, who ended the contest with a mini 6-0 run to make the scoreboard look closer. In the end Iowa Western collected it's fourth conference win of the year.
Patrick Dembley competed at a high level leading the Reivers in both points and assists with a 27 points and 5 assist effort, and fellow starter Isaiah Wade scored 14 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Iowa Western once again showed unselfish play as the Reivers dished out 19 assists to their 32 made field goals enroute to shooting over 55% as a team from the floor. However, it was Iowa Western's bench play that won the day; as the "second wave" of Reivers outscored their counterparts from Norfolk, NE 32-8 in bench scoring. Adalberto Diaz had is best conference game of the season; scoring 17 points (including 5/7 from three point range) and grabbing a team high 7 rebounds along with the aforementioned Wade. Freshman Shaun Doss arguably had the biggest hand in the Reivers key conference victory. The 6'5 wing from Marion, AR triggered a pivotal seven minute stretch of basketball that turned a back-and-forth affair into a comfortable double digit lead late into the second half. Doss finished the game with 13 points and 6 rebounds; scoring all 13 points during that important Reiver run.
With the win, Iowa Western remains in sole possession of second place in the conference at 4-2 in the ICCAC. #2 Indian Hills remains in first place at 5-0, Southeastern, who beat Marshalltown in West Burlington 83-74 in the evenings other conference tilt is 3-3, Marshalltown stands at 2-4, while Northeast remains winless in the conference at 0-5 after their setback in Council Bluffs.
The Reivers now step out of conference for their next three contests, beginning this Tuesday night (2/6/18) as they return to the road to visit Central in Columbus, NE. Tip time between the Reivers and Raiders is set for 7:00pm.