Basketball team wins championship

IUS Horizon

The Grenadiers celebrate their third consecutive KIAC championship by winning the championship game on Feb. 27.

The IUS men’s basketball team, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, defeated the No. 2 seed, the Brescia University Bearcats, 78-71 to win their third-straight Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship on Saturday, Feb. 27, in Frankfort, Ky.

The victory earned the Grenadiers an automatic bid in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National, Division II National Tournament in Point Lookout, Mo., beginning on March 11.

Jazzmarr Ferguson, IUS junior guard, led all scorers with 20 points, adding eight assists and four rebounds. Teammate Carlos Mitchell, IUS senior guard, scored 17 points, including four of five 3-pointers. Mitchell also added four rebounds and two steals.

The Bearcats were led by Anthony Ingram, Brescia senior forward, who notched a double-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Andrew Howard, Brescia senior guard, added 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Brescia won the opening tipoff but after a missed shot and rebound by Craig Bryant, IUS senior guard, the Grenadiers struck first with a drive and layup by Bryant.

Brescia immediately responded with a basket, signaling the beginning of what would become an up-tempo, exciting championship game.

George White, IUS senior guard, answered with a layup and knocked down a 3-pointer on the Grenadiers next possession.

Two blocks in the same possession by Brice Mitchell, IUS freshman forward, gave the Grenadiers the ball and Ferguson dribbled down the court before stopping and pulling up for a 3-pointer.

Two Brescia free throws gave the Bearcats their first points in more than three minutes, the Grenadiers leading 10-4 with 15:50 left in the half.

At the 14:10 mark, Carlos Mitchell stole the ball and saved it from going out of bounds, tipping it to White. White passed the ball back to Mitchell, who made a 3-pointer.

The Bearcats knotted the score at 14 with two straight 3-pointers then took the lead with another with 11:50 remaining.

After sloppy possessions by both teams, the Grenadiers regained the lead with a left-handed layup by Rick Bodiford, IUS junior guard.

The Grenadiers pushed the lead to seven with 5:10 left in the half with a 3-pointer by Alex Gravelle, IUS senior guard.

Brescia went on an 8-2 run to end the half. Carlos Mitchell made a 3-pointer, which was waved off because it was after the buzzer.

Brescia went into halftime leading 34-33, despite shooting only 29 percent from the field; in large part because they made all 11 of their free throws and the Grenadiers tallied only one offensive rebound in the half.

The second half saw five lead changes and five ties.

IU Southeast started the second half scoring with a 3-pointer by Carlos Mitchell, assisted by Bryant, taking a 36-34 lead.

Brescia tied the game and the teams traded 3-pointers, tying the game at 39.  Ingram gave the Bearcats the lead with another 3-pointer.

With 15:10 remaining, Carlos Mitchell drove to the basket and layed the ball in, tying the game at 44.

Then the Grenadiers really turned up the defensive pressure. Two steals, which were knocked out of bounds, caused Brescia to call a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, pressure on the inbounds pass forced a five-second violation.

Carlos Mitchell made another three and pressure on the subsequent Brescia possession forced another Bearcats turnover, though they still held a 48-47 lead.

The two teams traded baskets during the next 10 minutes, with neither team leading by more than three points.

With 2:58 remaining and the scored tied at 63, Ferguson took over. He assisted Gravelle on a 3-pointer, giving IU Southeast a 66-63 lead. Brescia scored to get within one, but Ferguson hop-stepped, threw a head fake, made the layup and was fouled. He made his free throw.

Grenadier defensive pressure force Brescia into a backcourt violation.

Ferguson again drove to the basket and made a layup with 1:08 remaining.

On the next Bearcat possession, he grabbed the rebound on a miss and was immediately fouled.

With a six-point lead and 33.2 seconds left, Ferguson successfully made both his free throws.

Bryant went to the free-throw line in a 1-1 situation and missed the first, but Ferguson was there with the offensive rebound and was fouled. He made one of his two free throws.

The game ended as IU Southeast ran out the clock.

Wiley Brown, head coach, said he had respect for the players on both teams and was proud of his players.

“That’s what fans come to see,” Brown said. “We laid everything on the line. We scheduled tough games earlier in the year and that prepared us for this.”

Bodiford said his team was not completely satisfied yet and was looking forward to the NAIA National Tournament.

By DERRICK HOLDRIDGE

Staff Writer

dvholdri@umail.iu.edu