Upset Thursday Leaves Spartans Hosting Tournament Championship Saturday
Feb 26, 2015
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The University of Dubuque men's basketball needed some help on Thursday night to return to the warm confines of Jon Davison Court in Stoltz Sports Center for a championship game of the the 2015 IIAC Men's Basketball Tournament. UD upset #2 seed Coe College Kohawks 71-59 to finish their part of upset Thursday. #5-seed Wartburg playing in a hostile Siebens Center against the #1 seed Buena Vista University Beavers completed the upset by dropping the Beavers 93-88 in overtime. The #3-seeded Spartans will now host the #5 seeded Wartburg Knights on Saturday, tentatively scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off.
The Spartans led at halftime 32-29 and would finish the contest leading for 35:03 out of the 40 minutes. UD's largest lead of the evening was 14 points with 1:08 remaining in the semifinals of the IIAC Tournament. Both teams were balanced in statistics with each squad grabbing 34 rebounds. Points in the paint edged in favor of the Spartans 32-26, points off turnovers UD again held a slim lead 19-12, and the Kohawks led in second chance points 17-12.
Andre Norris led scoring for his 16th time of the season with 21 points. Gage Heffernan added 15 points and teammate Kain Arthofer jumped off the bench to finish a perfect 8-8 at the free throw line to end with 15 points of his own. Lucas Ware also never missed at the charity stripe and was an unblemished 5-5 to add 13 points in the victory. Ware led all rebounders with a game high 10 which included eight defensive grabs.
UD would miss just two free throws in the second half to end the night sinking 26-32 attempts (81.3%). Coe would struggle at the line making 13-21 free throw attempts (61.9%). Defensive pressure from both teams kept shooting percentages a bit lower than Tuesday. UD made 21-48 attempts from the field and a cold 3-12 from three point area (25%). The Kohawks sank 21-57 attempts and made 4-15 three point shots (26.7%).
"We were pretty solid all night defensively," said Head Coach Robbie Sieverding. "We struggled a little in the first half on the offensive end, but got it going in the second half. I felt the first five minutes of the second half was the difference in the game."
Saturday's championship game winner will earn the automatic bid and advance into the 2015 NCAA Division III National Championships which begin in March.
UD celebrated on Valentine's Day by beating the Knights 65-60 in Waverly and lost at home to Wartburg on January 10 by a score of 63-74. The Knights ended the IIAC regular season on a four game skid, playing three out of four on the road. They have won two in a row in the IIAC Tournament which included BV's first loss this season at home against IIAC opponents. The Spartans have won eight out of their past nine games and will look to return to IIAC Championship form like they did in 2013 when they beat #4-seeded Wartburg for the tournament title by a 73-60 score.
"We will face a tough Wartburg team on Saturday," added Coach Sieverding. "They have a very good backcourt and are playing well right now. We look forward to playing in front of our home crowd and hopefully our fans fill up Stoltz Saturday night."