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IVCC men’s basketball coach Tommy Canale had a tough night Friday with a game against Waubonsee looming Saturday afternoon.
“I didn’t sleep all (Friday) night,” Canale said. “I was scared to death of this game and I usually don’t do that. I could not get comfortable. My head kept spinning, spinning, spinning, going ‘What are we going to do?’ I was fearful that this could get ugly.”
Turns out, Canale had no reason to be restless.
The Eagles followed their game plan and pulled out a 60-51 victory over Waubonsee to win the IVCC Classic in Oglesby.
“I thought we played the best game we’ve played to date this season,” Canale said. “We won one (Friday) night (over Oakton). I didn’t think we played real well, but I thought a lot of that had to do with Oakton. (Saturday), we followed our game plan. It was a nice way to end the weekend to win your own classic and beat a quality team like Waubonsee.” Defensively, the Eagles’ plan was to slow down the Chiefs’ uptempo style and keep the game in the 60s.
IVCC limited Waubonsee to 35.8 percent (19-of-53) shooting, including 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from 3-point range.
“We did not want to let them penetrate, drive and kick, which they do real well,” Canale said. “We went to our zone. We haven’t played it a whole lot so we went through it in walk through and what we wanted to do — clog the lane and make them go other places they weren’t used to, and that’s what we did. We got them confused out there about where to throw the ball and where we were going. It was nice to see us follow that.” Offensively, the Eagles wanted to feed the ball early and often to 6-foot-9, 300-pound center Perry Adams.
The sophomore scored all 12 of his points in the first half as the Eagles took a 31-20 lead into the break.
“Offensively, (the plan) was to get the big man involved early — set the tone, let it start sinking in then hit them on the outside and start driving it late,” Canale said. “We got away from that for a while (in the second half). We started settling for 3s. We had to calm them back down and say, ‘Lets get back to it and drive it.’”
The Eagles built a 17-point lead with 15:25 left in the game, but had some offensive struggles as Adams got into foul trouble and eventually fouled out.
The Chiefs pulled within two points at 53-51 with 1:30 left, but St. Bede graduate Alec Schwab came up with a few key plays to help the Eagles preserve the win.
Schwab hit a pull-up jumper with 41.2 seconds left for a 56-51 lead, then stole an inbounds pass, was fouled and sank both free throws with 15 seconds remaining.
“I’m not sure we did anything to win it as much what they did to help us,” Canale said. “They made some mistakes at the end and we kind of capitalized on those. We knocked down some free throws. We had a hard time scoring the last 6-7 minutes. They kind of helped us by making some poor decisions. We gutted it out really.”
The Eagles (4-1) return to action Tuesday when they play host to McHenry in a non-conference game at 7:30 p.m.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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