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UIndy men’s basketball wins two straight in GLVC

Posted on 02.13.2013

The University of Indianapolis men’s basketball team claimed a close victory on Feb. 9 over the McKendree University Bearcats, winning the contest 56-46. The victory gave the Greyhounds their second straight win in conference play and improved their record to 17-4, 9-4 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Junior forward Leland Brown led the Greyhounds in scoring with 21 points, and junior guard Reece Cheatham also contributed in double-digit scoring with 13 points.

Offensively, the Greyhounds struggled to hit their shots, converting only 22-of-56 from the field, 3-of-11 outside of the arch, and 9-of-18 from the free throw line. The Greyhounds were able to make up for their shooting, however, by out-rebounding the Bearcats 51-to-30, including 15 offensively, which led to 20 second-chance points for the Greyhounds.

Senior guard John Steppe led the Bearcats in scoring with 22 points, including three 3-pointers. UIndy’s defense played well against McKendree’s shooting game, however, holding the Bearcats to 16-of-55 shooting from the field and 6-of-31 from outside the arch.

The Bearcats started the game by scoring five unanswered points over the Greyhounds. UIndy tied the score at 7-7 less than two minutes later with a good layup by Brown. After McKendree took the lead by one point with 11:42 remaining in the half, UIndy reclaimed the lead with a 3-pointer by Cheatham, giving the Greyhounds the lead for the rest of the half. UIndy led by as many as eight points in the first half and shot 39.3 percent from the field and 28.6 from outside the arch.

In the second half, the Greyhounds had a difficult time pulling away from the Bearcats. UIndy had a five-point lead at the start of the second half, but allowed the Bearcats to pull within one point following a pair of free throws by McKendree sophomore guard Mike DiGregorio. The Greyhounds responded with a 3-pointer by Cheatham nearly two minutes later, which sparked a UIndy seven-point run.

McKendree decreased the Greyhounds’ lead to four, following a layup by McKendree junior guard Clinton Happe. After that, the Greyhounds did not allow the Bearcats to get any closer and closed the game with a jumper by Cheatham on a possession by the Greyhounds, which took nearly 90 seconds off the game clock thanks to a pair of offensive rebounds.

Earlier in the week, the Greyhounds took a trip to Bellarmine University, where they gained their first win this season against a ranked opponent, 64-62. The game not only gave the Greyhounds their first victory in Knights Hall since 2007, but also snapped the Knights’ 29-game home winning streak for the Knights, the longest active streak at the time in the NCAA Division II.

Head men’s basketball coach Stan Gouard said that coming in and getting the victory was vital to the team at this point in the season.

“It’s a great time, especially with it being this late in the season,” Gouard said. “We’re going down the home stretch here. And this is a great opportunity to come in and get a victory here. We snapped a 29-game home win streak, and that’s special.”

With 32 seconds remaining in the game, the Knights led UIndy by five points. But with 21 seconds remaining, Cheatham was able to draw a foul while attempting a 3-pointer that sent him to the line. Cheatham hit all three free throws and trimmed the Knights’ lead to two points. Junior guard Tyrae Robinson then fouled Knights’ senior guard Chris Dowe with 18 seconds remaining, which sent Dowe to the line for two free throw attempts. Dowe missed the first but made the second, which increased the lead to three. The Greyhounds then scored in nearly five seconds, with a layup by Robinson, making the score 62-61, with 12.8 seconds left. As the Knights attempted to inbound the ball following the lay-in by Robinson, sophomore guard Daniel Daudu deflected the pass off a Knight defender, forcing a turnover and giving possession to the Greyhounds. The Greyhounds took the lead after the Knights’ blocking foul as Robinson was attempting to navigate a ball screen. Robinson hit both free throws and gave the lead back to the Greyhounds, 63-62, with 10 seconds remaining. The Knights’ errors continued, ending their last possibility of winning the game when Dowe’s cross-court pass was intercepted by senior forward James Hollowell. Hollowell was fouled with 1.5 seconds remaining and went to the free throw line, converting one of two free throws. The Knights missed the long heave as time expired, and the game ended.

Gouard said that the key thing he told the team in that last minute was not to panic.

“We made some good plays down the stretch on offense and really did a great job of sticking to our defensive game plan,” Gouard said.

Hollowell led the Greyhounds offensively, with 19 points in the game, including two 3-pointers. Brown also contributed 15 points to the Greyhounds’ score, in a game that, according to Brown, was the first for which he had felt 100 percent since his injury earlier on in the season.

“It was great. The last couple of games, I have been 60, 70 percent. And tonight, I was 100 percent, and I came back,” Brown said. “My teammates trusted me, and I took full responsibility and went out and played my heart out.”

Gouard said that he was happy about Brown’s performance and knew that the Greyhounds needed that to be successful.

“Leland wasn’t going to start. And then this morning, I thought, ‘Leland has to play. He’s one of the guys who started when we had that 13-game win streak going,’” Gouard said. “And [junior center] Joe [Daniels], being the good guy he is… because Joe Daniels was going to start—great team guy. I really commend Joe for not putting his head down. He understood where we were coming from and took the backseat to Leland. And Leland stepped up tonight and played a remarkable game for us.”

The Greyhounds shot 48 percent from the field and 25 percent from outside the arch, but made 80 percent of their free throws. UIndy also scored more points in the paint than Bellarmine, 32-to-18, and had more points off turnovers, 22-to-11. The lead only changed three times and was tied twice.


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