Kirkwood squashes MCC’s late surge

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown Community College sophomore Eduardo Lane (30) fends off Kirkwood defender Doug Wilson (33) during the first half of the Tigers’ 90-82 loss to the Eagles on Wednesday.

The Marshalltown Community College men’s basketball team had a chance to win its third-straight game and get some revenge for an earlier loss when it hosted NJCAA Division II No. 5 Kirkwood Community College on Wednesday night.

Unfortunately for the Tiger faithful, Eagle sophomore Doug Wilson had other plans in mind, as he torched the MCC defense for 32 points and Kirkwood walked out of the Student Activity Center with a 90-82 victory.

Tiger head coach Brynjar Brynjarsson said it’s hard to come away with a victory when one player is scoring at will.

“We couldn’t stop [Wilson] when it really counted, in the middle stretch of the second half we didn’t do a good job on him at all,” Brynjarsson said. “He drove by us and laid it in, we couldn’t get the ball out of his hands and at the end of the day that’s really what hurt us. He had 32 points on us.”

Wilson finished 14-for-18 from the floor and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line, and he was a big reason Kirkwood (7-1) outscored the MCC (6-6) by 18 in the paint, 50-32.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown Community College sophomore Juan Coffi (1) puts up a shot over Kirkwood defender Seybian Sims, left, during the second half of the Tigers’ 90-82 loss to the Eagles.

Eagles head coach Bryan Petersen said there aren’t many other players in junior college who can stand toe-to-toe with the sophomore out of Des Moines.

“He is our best player, I would put him up there with anybody in the country,” Petersen said. “I wouldn’t trade him for anybody and that’s because he’s a great teammate too on top of being a great player. He was huge tonight, it’s kind of nice as a coach when you need a bucket you have somebody you can go to that is going to probably deliver for you at a pretty good rate.”

Despite the heroics from Wilson, who had 20 points in the second half alone, the Tigers still had a chance to either tie or win the game in the final minutes. They trailed by only six with under a minute left, but for every good thing MCC did it also would take a step back and allow Kirkwood to regain any ground it had lost.

“When they switched to a 1-3-1 zone we ended up driving the gaps and doing some things but at the same time we just couldn’t hit an open shot,” Brynjarsson said. “I thought the shots were open by the right people and I don’t have a problem with that, but with that being said we have to get in the gym and get some shots up. We aren’t necessarily just a jump-shooting team, but we have to make sure we have our rhythm and go from there. For the game we shot 42 percent from three but we knocked down two or three down the stretch and at that point it didn’t matter.”

Petersen said he’s just happy the Tigers didn’t start their final push until the game was nearly done.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

“The best thing was there wasn’t a lot of time left, I think they kind of ran out of time and that was in our favor,” Petersen said. “We haven’t worked on a lot of late-game situations this year and outside of one game we really haven’t been in a ton of close games late, so we have to get better at that. I was proud of the guys with how they responded in the second half and found a way to get a road win.”

Eduardo Lane was the leading scorer for MCC with 21 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Kelton Edwards, the hero in the Tigers’ win over Iowa Central on Monday, had 17 points to come in second on the team, while JJ Foster had 14 and Juan Coffi finished with 13.

Brynjarsson said there are many players on the court who have the ability to take the game over, but so far none of them seem willing or able to carry the team when the shots aren’t falling like they are used to.

“We have to have somebody step up and make a play down the stretch. In the time that we struggled to score somebody has to step up and make a basket,” he said. “They did a nice job of getting us out of rhythm with that 1-3-1 they threw out, but at the same time I felt like we responded with what we wanted to do and we were able to get some open looks by guys who have been knocking down some shots for us, but it just didn’t happen today.”

Three other Kirkwood players joined Wilson in the double figures, as Connor Kasperbauer had 14 points, former Marshalltown High School standout Luke Appel had 11 and Brady Sartorius had 10.

Despite playing through foul trouble most of the night, Appel was third on the team in scoring and he had five rebounds, two assists and a block. Petersen said so far Appel has developed well in his first season at Kirkwood.

“Luke has a huge role for our team, he’s a very skilled player and a very high-IQ player and he brings those things right away,” Petersen said. “He definitely needs to continue to work on his defense and some of those things but he’s a freshman and he’s learning, hopefully he will continue to learn from the good things he’s doing and some of the mistakes. He’s having a good year for us and we are happy to have him.”

Outside of points on the scoreboard, Kirkwood out-rebounded MCC (29-22) and had more steals (7-6). Brynjarsson said it doesn’t take much looking to figure out where his team gave up the points they lost by.

“If you look at the glass, we got out-rebounded by seven. That’s a big factor, second-chance points were 10-5, so there’s five points by itself,” Brynjarsson said. “Some of the shot selection early in the second half led to transition baskets by them so that’s another four or six points. We control our own mistakes and sometimes we are a little too loose, we want to go make a play right away and that makes it go back the other way, then it’s hard to get back in transition. We need guys to step up and we have to figure out a way to not give up 32 points to one guy.”

Part of what plagued the Tigers were some tired legs, as this was their third game since Saturday, but now that they have a six-day break Brynjarsson said the team has some things to figure out before they step back on the court.

“We’ve played three games in five days, that hasn’t helped anything but at the same time it is what it is,” he said. “You have to play the game and find a way to show toughness and grit and showcase that you’re capable of winning these games. I think we are right there, we might have been a little gassed towards the end, who knows, but we get a little break here now and can kind of fine-tune some things and work on some things in practice and go from there.”

The MCC men return to action on Tuesday with a road game against Quakerdale Prep Academy in New Providence, starting at 7 p.m.

Kirkwood CC 90, Marshalltown CC 82

KIRKWOOD (7-1) — Seybian Sims 1-2 1-6 3, Allante Pickens 3-6 1-2 9, Connor Kasperbauer 5-9 1-2 14, Doug Wilson 14-18 4-5 32, Luke Appel 4-6 2-4 11, Devonte Thedford 2-4 0-0 4, Brady Sartorious 2-6 6-8 10, Niko Gosnell 3-4 0-0 7, Kyle Arrington 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS 34-56 15-27 90.

MCC (6-6) — Juan Coffi 5-10 3-6 13, Goran Vidovic 2-7 0-0 6, Nick Fleming 1-4 4-5 7, Kelton Edwards 7-15 0-0 17, Eduardo Lane 9-12 3-5 21, JJ Foster 3-5 6-6 14, Adrian Molina 0-0 0-0 0, Bassirou Ndiaye 0-2 4-6 4. TOTALS 27-55 20-28 82.

Halftime–Kirkwood 43-41. 3-Point Goals–Kirkwood 7-17 (Kasperbauer 3-7, Pickens 2-5, Gosnell 1-1, Luke Appel 1-2, Satrorius 0-1, Sims 0-1), MCC 8-19 (Edwards 3-5, Foster 2-4, Vidovic 2-6, Fleming 1-4). Rebounds–Kirkwood 29 (Sims 7), MCC 22 (Coffi 5). Assists–Kirkwood 12 (Sartorius 5), MCC 12 (Coffi 5). Total Fouls–Kirkwood 20, MCC 22. Fouled Out–Lane, Vidovic.