Wade Steinlage, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
OSKALOOSA – MidAmerica Nazarene has given the William Penn men’s basketball team some problems on the road in the past, but the Statesmen have dominated the past five meetings in Oskaloosa. With Saturday’s clash being the only regular season game between the two, there was a lot of anticipation for the matchup. With some strong offensive play, the Statesmen did not let the Pioneers pull off the upset as WPU blew the game open midway through the first half, winning 113-78 to improve their record to 14-1 overall and 12-1 in Heart of America Athletic Conference competition.
The start of the game saw WPU score in the first four seconds, as Ahmad Pender (Sr., Chicago, Ill, Wellness & Recreation) went baseline, got the pass from Q Cager (Sr., Hopkinsville, Ky., Wellness & Recreation), and laid it in on the lob. The two-point lead quickly became four as Cager swiped a casual pass in the backcourt and made a layup of his own.
From there, the Pioneers played their best basketball of the afternoon. Forcing the navy and gold into some hard shots, they sprinted off to a seven-point lead with 14:42 to go in the first half. The Statesmen called a timeout and made a complete line-change, which paid off instantly.
Eddie Daley (Sr., DeWitt, Mich., Business Management) opened his account in the game by knocking down two three-point shots in a row. Brandon Faison (Sr., Charlotte, N.C., Sports Management) then splashed down a three to put WPU ahead again, which the team would not relinquish the rest of the game. The scoring barrage would continue for the next few minutes as a seven-point gap turned into a 16-point lead on the shoulders of a 22-2 run. Midway through the frame, the home side led 31-15.
After the media timeout, the Pioneers went on a small 7-3 run to make it a 10-point game, but that is as close as they got. Pender made a couple more baskets over the final five minutes of the first half, as did Kevion Blaylock (Sr., Houston, Texas, Information Technology) to increase the lead. Baskets were exchanged as the half drew to a close and the teams went to their locker-rooms with WPU leading 59-42.
The Statesmen were an eye-popping 61.5% from the field as they took the open lanes to score in the paint. The rebound battle was close, with the Statesmen notching a 19-18 edge. Pender led the team with 11 points, with Chanze Cruesoe (So., St. Louis, Mo., Business Management) and Blaylock tied for the team lead in rebounds with four.
The second half saw Karmari Newman (Sr., Detroit, Mich., Digital Communication) sink the first basket of the half, driving deep and putting the ball in the hoop on a fade-away as he got fouled. Making the and-one, he put the team ahead by 20. Things were back and forth over the first five minutes of the second half and the lead would come back down to 16 with 13:13 to go.
Seizing back the momentum, the navy and gold went on another tear, putting up a 20-5 run over seven-plus minutes. Everybody got in on the action as the advantage grew to 33 points. Once again eclipsing the century mark, the Statesmen were able to go deep down the bench for the final few minutes. Thomas Stanley (Fr., Henderson, Nev.) made a couple three-pointers, while Derrick Holman (Sr., Napeville, Ill.) and Jordan Golden (Fr., Land O’Lakes, Fla.) each found some points.
The team shot 51% for the game and were 30% from beyond the arc. WPU had 15 offensive rebounds and 38 defensive ones to take the rebound count 53-39. They also generated 15 turnovers, eight from steals, and had 66 points in the paint while the visitors made only 28 down low. The Statesmen also showed their depth by having 53 points come from the bench, while MNU mustered just 27.
Six players entered double figures on the afternoon. Newman led the team with 20 points, as he sank two trifectas in the contest and had four assists (tied for the team high). Daley played extremely well, collecting 17 points and six rebounds, while standing tall on the defensive side. Blaylock had 14 points and a team-high 11 boards for another double-double. Pender and Cager each had 13 points, while Faison put up 10.
“Eddie Daley was incredible tonight,” Head Coach John Henry said. “I hope our fans appreciate how great he has been for four years. He is a true Statesmen.”
Let the TP fly (at the right time!) as the Vikings of Grand View come to Oskaloosa on January 20. The annual Toilet Paper Game will kick off against the rivals at 7:30 p.m.