A big 60-54 overtime win over Iowa Central here Saturday, plus a little help from Kirkwood, gave the Southwestern men’s basketball team the four-seed, and a home game, in the Region XI Tournament.
The Spartans will host Iowa Central in a rematch here at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the quarterfinals. The winner of that game will take on either top-seeded Iowa Lakes or 8-seed Clinton on Thursday.
Southwestern entered the day needing a win over Iowa Central plus a Kirkwood win over DMACC to clinch the four seed.
With Kirkwood jumping out to an early lead thanks to eight first-half 3-pointers and 20 first-half points by Kasey Semler, all Southwestern needed to do was hang onto its 26-20 halftime lead over Iowa Central.
But after Delby Halcomb found Devin Kastrup under the basket to make it a 28-22 lead in the opening minute of the second half, Southwestern went nearly 10 full minutes without a made field goal.
Jack Harrison ended the drought with an offensive rebound and putback, plus a free throw, to cut Iowa Central’s lead to 36-33.
“We’re goofy enough that it creates anomalies of statistics,” Holmes said. “We don’t have to shoot it well, because we usually can keep their field goal percentage low because they’re not in the flow they normally are. That’s the whole idea of our system.”
The Spartans battled back and a Marquealis Edwards free throw with :35.8 left was the last point of regulation, forcing overtime tied up at 50-50.
Southwestern outscored the Tritons 10-4 in the overtime session, as Kastrup scored six of the first eight points and assisted on the other basket to help the Spartans bolt to a 58-52 lead.
Kastrup finished with 15 points for the game, as Edwards led the team with 17 points. Halcomb added 10.
“Nothing’s easy for us this year, that’s for sure,” Southwestern head coach Mike Holmes said. “In that overtime session with three and a half minutes to play, we got a little bit of a bulge, and that was as well as we’ve defended, because you want a quick score if you’re on the other end of that.
“And they couldn’t get a quick score, because we were talking on our handoffs, identifying the shooters, coming off the non-shooters and rebounding with four guards really hard,” Holmes continued. “I thought that was the game.”
The Spartans contested every Triton shot in the overtime session, and kept from fouling Iowa Central except for one one dish down low, Holmes noted.
Marcus Littleton and Halcomb iced off the victory with one free throw each in the final minute, giving Southwestern a 60-59 win.
“If you’re going to diagram how we play, how we want to play Tuesday, that’s it,” Holmes said. “I guess that gets us going, at least on an upswing a little bit.”
Southwestern, which finishes the regular season at 15-14 overall and 7-7 in ICCAC play, now hosts Iowa Central in a rematch at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Iowa Central, the 5-seed, finished 17-13 overall and 7-7 in conference play.
The two teams split in conference play, with Iowa Central scoring a double overtime victory over the Spartans on Jan. 30.
“I think for our community and our school, it’ll be nice to have a home game,” Holmes said. “I couldn’t tell you an opponent we want to play, because it’s been the same — we’re tight at the end of the game, every single game. You’re going to have to play three teams anyway (to win the region). We’ve got seven conference wins, and that’s with a forfeit in there. I think the guys can be proud of their season no matter where they end up going.”
Southwestern forfeited Wednesday’s game at Kirkwood because of multiple violations of a team rule.
IOWA CENTRAL (54) — Jesse Jones 4 5-9 13, David Andersen 4 4-5 12, Jawad Adekoya 2 5-6 10, Casey Sieren 4 0-0 8, Rhys Elliot 2 0-0 6, Malik Brooks 1 0-0 3, Jaleel Gray 1 0-0 2. Totals — 18 14-20 54. 3-point goals — 4 (Elliot 2, Sieren 1, Adekoya 1). Team fouls — 21. Fouled out — Adekoya.
SOUTHWESTERN (60) — Marquealis Edwards 4 9-12 17, Devin Kastrup 6 3-4 15, Delby Halcomb 3 4-5 10, Marcus Littleton 3 1-1 7, Larry Mason 2 0-0 6, Jack Harrison 1 1-1 3, Patrick Wright 1 0-0 2. Totals — 20 18-23 60. 3-point goals — 2 (Mason 2). Team fouls — 19. Fouled out — Harrison, Wright.
ICCC — 20 50 54
SWCC — 26 50 60