Beatrice, NE -- Iowa Western collected a 97-88 road victory Tuesday (1/7) evening at Southeast Community College (10-4) in their final non-conference game leading up to ICCAC league play. The Reivers scored the game's first five points and never looked back; winning "wire-to-wire" in a game, that short of a few strong Southeast challenges, Iowa Western controlled throughout.
In the contest's first half, Iowa Western was led by the rebounding and scoring of Mal Pine, who had one of his most complete performances as a Reiver. Pine grabbed five early game rebounds triggering the Reivers' fast break and also finished with inside baskets throughout much of the early going; he would end the evening with his first "double-double" of his career with a 13 point - 13 rebound effort. Caleb Huffman continued to be a thorn in the Storm's side as he added 19 points, many of those in the game's first frame. In Huffman's two season's in Council Bluffs the sophomore has had games of 28, 24, 19, and 17 points vs Southeast. Behind Huffman and Pine's efforts the Reivers would hold a 10 point cushion heading into halftime.
The second half had four major swings throughout. It began with Southeast trimming the Reivers halftime advantage almost immediately to a three point affair with 16:21 to play. The Reivers then responded and grew the lead back out to as many as 15 points, behind the play making of Kaleb Thornton and timely finishes from Seneca Louis and Damontrez Ruffin, with 12:13 to play. The 10 win home team from Beatrice was not going to be vanquished just yet, as the Storm made the game's largest rally; ultimately getting the game to within just a single basket with 8:51 to play. After a technical foul on Southeast for taunting, Josiah Strong took control of the contest; having a four point possession of his own (two technical free throws and a running basket), and proceeded to score the game's next eight points; extending the Iowa Western advantage almost immediately back out to double figures with 7:32 to play. From there Iowa Western remained at arm's length from Southeast who dropped their 5th game of the season; with two of those losses coming at the hands of the Reivers.
Indicative of unselfish play, the Reivers had six players score in double figures: Strong (24pts), Huffman (19pts), Pine (13pts), Louis (12pts), and Thornton and Ruffin (10pts each).
The road win prepares Iowa Western for it's first conference game this weekend; as the Reivers will open ICCAC league play at Northeast. Tip time between the Reivers and Hawks from Norfolk, NE will be at 7:00pm.