Council Bluffs, IA -- The Iowa Western men's basketball team found yet another way to win Tuesday (11/5) evening at Reiver Arena, and it came from a seldomly used source. Playing in their 6th game in just 12 days and without their starting point guard Jo Strong (out due to illness), the Reivers had trouble staying in front of the visiting Titans from Iowa Central's dribble-motion offense much of the first half. Trailing by 12 points with 14:57 to go in the first half, the Reivers shifted into a 2-3 zone, then began to chip away at the Titan lead; in large part due to the play of Jalen Dalcourt. The sophomore transfer from Tallahassee Juco scored 16 of his game high 21 points in the first half to help reel back in the opponents from Fort Dodge, IA; and by halftime Iowa Central's advantage was just a mere basket at 34-32.
Expecting adjustments to the zone from Iowa Central at the break, the Reivers returned to their man-to-man defense, only to see Iowa Central expand their lead to 8 points with 16:23 to play. From there Iowa Western abandoned their traditional defense and committed to their zone. It worked, as Iowa Central began to search for openings that where quickly closed by a suddenly more energized Reiver squad. The forced poor shots and passing errors by the Titans led to a sudden change in tempo, as the Reivers began to find gaps within an Iowa Central defense that had not been their previously. In all, Iowa Western's zone defense was played in over half the game minutes for the Reivers; who added another "come from behind" victory to their record; with a gritty 76-71 win over Iowa Central.
Caleb Huffman triggered the Iowa Western offensive attack in the second frame with 14 of his 20 points coming after the break. Kaleb Thornton, who started in place of the aforementioned Strong, played a tremendous all-around floor game; dishing out 7 assists to just 1 single turnover. Several of those assists coming in a key stretch late in the contest when he found both Seneca Louis twice with dishes for dunks, and Mal Pine twice for a key 10 foot shoot and 3 point field goal; to put the Reivers up for good with 5:15 to play.
Following the 6 games in 12 days stretch to open up the season; Iowa Western now gets a much deserved "single game" weekend this Saturday (11/9) afternoon. However, it doesn't get any easier for the Reivers as they will face off against the #7th ranked team in the country, Hutchinson out of Kansas. That game will be a neutral site contest as part of the Barton County Classic in Great Bend, KS. Tip-off between the Reivers and Blue Dragons is slated for 3:00pm.