Kansas City, KS -- The Iowa Western men's basketball team traveled to Kansas City, Kansas Saturday (12/15/18) to finish off finals week with one more test against the host Blue Devils of KCK. That final test was just that; as the host program from the Jayhawk Conference pushed the Reivers to the brink and gave Iowa Western all they could handle for virtually the entire affair.
Both teams opened the contest showing no wear from a week that involved exams, projects, and papers throughout the final week of the first semester for both clubs; playing well and going basket-for-basket with one another most of the first twenty minutes. The Reivers showed a stanch man-to-man defense; while KCK matched with a solid zone defense; both holding their counterpart to 29 points in the opening frame. Christian Bentley's three point shooting paced the Reivers much of the first half as he connected on four three points shots over the zone during that time.
The second half was once again a defensive affair as both teams searched for any separation in the possession-by-possession tussle. Midway through the second half, it was the host team that began to surge forward as the Blue Devils pushed their advantage out to a seven point lead with 9:34 to go in regulation. That lead, ultimately proving to be the Blue Devils largest of the contest, would be short lived however; as once again the Reivers; who have been in this type of situation before, began to reel KCK back in with a modest 12-6 run of their own to draw within a single point with 7:05 to play. The next few moments of the contest saw Iowa Western and KCK trade leads as both teams braced themselves for one last push. Ultimately, it would be the Reivers, who showed no fear of being pushed on the road at the end of a long week of academic focus, taking control of a game that would eventually see nine lead changes and eight ties. Iowa Western finished the game with a dominant final five minutes of basketball to push past and ultimately bedevil the very game Blue Devils on their home floor; closing the contest out with a 17-7 run; to prevail 71-59.
The Reivers were led by Christian Bentley who continued his hot shooting in the second half; finishing 7/12 from behind the three point line on his way to a game high 28 point performance. Travon Broadway finished with 16 points, all of which coming in the second half; and Caleb Huffman rounded out the double figure scorers for Iowa Western with 15 points including several key baskets late in the game. Parker Hazen grabbed a game high 13 rebounds for the Reivers, in an element of the game that proved to be the single biggest factor of the contest. In a game that Iowa Western's defense only allowed 59 points, it was the rebounding advantage that won the day. The Reivers outrebounded the Blue Devils 43-27, and more importantly outscored KCK 17-2 on second chance points. Jalen Davis led KCK in scoring with 13 points.
With the road victory Saturday, Iowa Western concludes it's first semester portion of the schedule with a 14-1 overall record heading into the break. The Reivers will resume play Saturday, January 5th on the road against Iowa Central. Tip time between the Reivers and Tritons is slated for 4:00pm.