Concordia, KS -- Undefeated teams expect to win. The Iowa western men's basketball team knew it would be playing a confident 7-0 Pratt (KS) team in the opening round of the Cloud County T-Bird Thanksgiving Classic, and the Beavers didn't disappoint.
Led by Blake Furcron's 25 point and Tlyer Bourne's 24 point evening, Pratt gave Iowa Western all they could handle; particulary in the first 20 minutes of basketball. The Beavers opened up on fire from the three point line jumping out to an early eight point lead. Pratt rarely cooled down from behind the arch, before heating up again en route to an eventual 14/28 shooting effort from three point range; putting the Reivers behind at half by their largest halftime deficit of the season at 44-36.
However, the Reivers remained unpanicked and showed the resolve of a team that too was on a current long winning streak of their own, as they began to slowly chip-away at the halftime deficit and midway through the second frame looked to take control. Iowa Western would pass the Beavers on the scoreboard and get out to a seven point lead with a little more then six minutes to go. Pratt however then responded with a slight advantage in points of the next several minutes, and got within one possession of the Reivers on the game's final possession. On that final possession, an untimely and very questionable technical was called on the Reivers allowing Pratt to tie the game on foul shots and resume possession of the ball, this time now for the win. But just as four days earlier in Colorado when the Reivers defense refused to give up a last possession basket; Iowa Western's defense was up to the task and stopped Pratt's shot to win in regulation.
In the overtime Iowa Western seized control from the git-go. Travon Broadway, who would along with Emmanuel Ugboh lead the Reivers in scoring with 23 points, started the overtime with a bucket as he and his Reiver teammates would never trail in the extra session. Having finally shown the very determined Beavers "how to lose", the final moments consisted of a series of Reiver dunks and at the rim finishes from Ugboh, Broadway, Parker Hazen, and Caleb Huffman en route to an amazing 21 point overtime explosion, and a 109-105 OT victory.
Iowa Western will now play the host team Cloud County Saturday (11/24/18) afternoon in a de facto "championship game" of the Thanksgiving classic, due to the Thunderbirds' 81-76 win tonight over North Platte, making both teams 1-0 in the classic. Tip-off between the Reivers and T-Birds is set for 4:00pm.