Council Bluffs, IA -- The Iowa Western men's basketball team won their own 2018 Iowa Western Basketball Classic Saturday (12/818) evening with a "wire to wire" 76-68 victory over Northeastern (CO). With the win, the Reivers claimed their third classic title in a row this season; having already won the Holiday Inn / Hampton Inn Reiver Classic (Des Moines Area (IA), Dakota College-Bottineau (ND), Cloud County (KS)), as well the Cloud County Thanksgiving T-Bird Classic (Cloud County (KS), Pratt (KS), and North Platte (NE)).
The defacto championship game of the classic was set-up when both Iowa Western and Northeastern won their day one contests Friday (12/7/18) evening. Northeastern defeated Iowa Central in the opening game of the classic 84-78, while the Reivers beat Labette (KS) 78-73 in the night-cap game. Labette would go on to win the consolation game over the Titans of Iowa Central Saturday (12/8/18) 82-81 for third place in the classic.
In the classic's final game, the Reivers broke out of the gates in a big way. A suffocating defensive effort from Iowa Western led to quick unselfish transition baskets as the Reivers claimed an early 17-4 advantage. Iowa Western would never trail, however with over 30 minutes of basketball still remaining, the game was still far from over. Northeastern, "down but not out" from that initial punch, steadied themselves a bit; and got the margin of separation to eight at halftime, trailing the Reivers 36-28.
The second half began similar to the first as Iowa Western steadily bumped the lead above double figures a few times. Northeastern then began their one major push to win the Iowa Western Classic, the Plainsmen were able to finally get a few three point baskets from a Reiver defense that had held Northeastern to little if any quality attempts from behind the arch in the games previous 25 minutes. Northeastern was able to get the game to within one possession with a little under nine minutes to go. Following an Iowa Western timeout, the Reivers played with a confidence that tonight would not be the Plainsmen's night, as the Reivers went on a 14-4 run of their own to put a strangle-hold on the classic's final game of the weekend. Northeastern would get no closer than the game's final margin of eight; as the Reivers claimed their third classic of the year, with a complete forty minute 76-68 win in a game they controlled from the opening tip.
Iowa Western had four players in double figures with Travon Broadway (22pts), Parker Hazen (15pts), Emmanuel Ugboh (14pts), and Christian Bentley (13pts). Parker Hazen and Emmanuel Ugboh both came one rebound shy of double-double efforts with 9 rebounds apiece. Amadou Sylla contributed an 8 point, 5 rebound, and 2 block effort off the bench for the Reivers. Northeastern's Ben Davis II paced the Plainsmen with 17 points. With the win, the Reivers move to 13-1 on the season.
Iowa Western concludes the first semester portion of their schedule this upcoming Saturday (12/15/18) when they will travel to Kansas City to take on the Kansas City-Kansas Blue Devils. Tip time is slated for 4:00 pm.