Men's Basketball Title Race in Final Week

Feb 14, 2015 | None


WAVERLY, Iowa - The University of Dubuque and two other men's teams have locked in their 2015 IIAC Men's Basketball Tournament berth, but the final week of the IIAC race will provide excitement for all teams involved. The Spartans fate is held in their own hands when they host league leading Buena Vista on Wednesday night in Stoltz Sports Center. UD remains just a game out of the lead, a victory over BV and the Spartans could add a championship banner on the wall.

Saturday against the Wartburg College Knights, the host Knights were determined to keep the game within a basket or two. UD led at the break by a single point 26-25 before sinking the final 5-6 free throw attempts in final :37 seconds to capture the contest 65-60. Both teams worked the ball inside and scored in the paint, but it was in second chance points where the Knights dominated UD 24-8 to keep the game close. The Knights received no offensive help from their bench in the loss after all five subs would be held scoreless by a stingy Spartan defense.

"We played a very solid game on the defensive end, but second and third chances really hurt us," said Head Coach Robbie Sieverding. "Wartburg did a really good job of attacking the offensive glass and that is something that we need to clean up the rest of the season."

UD would once again look to the starting five for the majority of offense. Andre Norris would once again finish the contest with another double-double, 17 points and 11 rebounds. Lucas Ware missed just one shot from the field to finish with 16 points as Gage Heffernan added 12 points. The Spartans shot 44% from the field and sank 17-24 free throw attempts (70.8%). Norris, Heffernan and Brandon Ferguson would all get into foul trouble and finish with four fouls each as UD would get quality minutes from their bench to help capture their 19th win of the 2014-15 season. UD moved to a record of 19-4 overall, 9-3 in the IIAC with two regular conference games left.

"Our guys were able to execute down the stretch and make just enough plays in the final minutes," added Coach Sieverding. "Kain hit a big three for us when we trailed by four, and Andre converted a huge three around the two-minute mark. We were fortunate to come away with a road victory on Saturday and we will need to adjust and play better against Buena Vista. The Beavers have a really nice team and are good on the glass and in transition. We will have to be locked in on both ends of the floor to be successful."

UD will host Buena Vista University 17-6 overall, 10-2 in the IIAC on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 8:00 p.m. The Spartans host the Luther College Norse 8-15 overall, 4-8 in the IIAC on senior day, Feb. 21 at 4:00 p.m.

2014-2015 Basketball IIAC Standings through Saturday, Feb. 14.

Buena Vista -x 10-2 17-6
Dubuque -x 9-3 19-4
Coe -x 8-4 14-9
Central 6-6 13-10
Wartburg 6-6 13-10
Loras 4-8 9-14
Luther 4-8 8-15
Simpson 1-11 6-17
x - clinched IIAC Tournament berth