After being ranked in the top ten in the nation for the first time this season on Jan. 28, the University of Indianapolis men’s basketball team lived up to the newly acquired ranking with back-to-back victories at home over two other top 25 teams. The Greyhounds won both games, dominating statistically and defeating both of their Great Lakes Valley Conference opponents by double figure points.
The Greyhounds wrapped up their home stand in Nicoson Hall on Saturday, Feb. 1, with a win over the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers, 82-60. The win over the Rangers not only helped bring the Greyhounds closer to first place in the GLVC East standings, but also snapped a 10-game conference win streak for Parkside, who currently sits in the driver’s seat.
In what was expected to be a highly contested conference battle between two nationally ranked teams, the Rangers only held the lead once by two points early in the first half. When the Greyhounds recovered the lead, they held it tightly for the rest of the afternoon. At the half, the Greyhounds led by 11 points and had control of the momentum heading into the second.
The Greyhounds continued to maintain their lead throughout the remainder of the game, and with 2:34 remaining, had their largest lead of the afternoon at 22 points.
Junior forward/center Joe Lawson had a career-high night in scoring for the Greyhounds, finishing with 32 points, while also adding 12 rebounds. Lawson was one of just two UIndy players to put up double-digit points in the lopsided victory.
The Greyhounds began their competitive home stand in Nicoson Hall on Thursday, Jan. 30, when they hosted the Lewis University Flyers, winning 80-66. The matchup, which also featured two of the top 25 teams in the nation, would determine which team would take sole possession of second place in the GLVC East.
In the first half, both teams opened up with a back-and-forth battle for the lead. The Greyhounds, however, were able to create a cushion for themselves on the scoreboard later in the half, led by junior guard Kendall Vieke, who put up eight points, including two 3-pointers. At the half, the Greyhounds led by a score of 38-30.
The Greyhounds continued to maintain their lead throughout the rest of the contest and pulled ahead by as much as 15 points with 10:08 remaining in the game. Although the Flyers were able to cut the Greyhounds’ lead to one point in the second half, Lewis could not find a way to regain the lead, and UIndy went on to claim the victory and sole possession of second place in the GLVC East standings.
Vieke finished second among all UIndy scorers that night, with 16 points from six made shots, including four from outside the arc. That career-best performance by the junior was something he said was “very special.”
“Anytime you can beat a career-high, that’s great,” he said. “But I was more happy that we won. Anything that I can do to help the team win, I’m willing to do. And that’s what it was tonight.”
After picking up another victory over a top-ranked opponent, Head Men’s Basketball Coach Stan Gouard said wins such as the one over Lewis will be beneficial to the team’s future.
“Long term, it’s going to help us out in terms of regional rankings, once those start to come out,” he said. “There is still a lot of basketball left to be played. But when you win games like this against a quality team like Lewis, it goes a long way.”
The Greyhounds will return to action in the GLVC on the road tomorrow night, Feb. 6, when they take on the Maryville University Saints. Game time is set for 8:30 p.m.