It was a tale of two games for IVCC Thursday against Kishwaukee.
In the Arrowhead Conference opener, the IVCC men’s basketball team dominated the second half en route to an 85-76 victory over the Kougars, but in the night’s first game the IVCC women struggled and fell 72-40.
IVCC 85, Kishwaukee 76
Despite winning, IVCC trailed 40-39 at halftime thanks in part to a 12-4 run by the Kougars to end the first half.
It could have been worse, however, but IVCC sophomore and St. Bede alumnus Alec Schwab scored 20 first-half points.
“Alec had about as hot a half as you can get tonight in the first half,” IVCC coach Tommy Canale said. “We didn’t stick to our game plan very well in the first half, but Alec was on fire and kept us right there with Kish.”
In the second half, IVCC switched from a zone defense to man to man, which frustrated the Kougars.
“They were just getting too much dribble penetration and good looks close to the basket and we needed to stop that,” Canale said. “The guys really did a great job of it and set the tone for the rest of the half.”
IVCC’s 6-foot-9 post Perry Adams was one of the Eagles who benefited from the change as he blocked two shots early in the second half, grabbed rebounds and backed his way into the lane for high-percentage shots.
The blocked shots and rebounds allowed the Eagles to run the floor and eventually take a 49-45 lead.
Once IVCC took the lead, it never trailed the rest of the way.
The Eagles took control during a 16-7 run during which sophomore and Princeton graduate Michael Murray had a putback and Nick Finney drained a 3-pointer.
Despite IVCC taking the lead, the Kougars did not go quietly as Kyle Lawson hit a 3-pointer of his own to cut the deficit to 72-66.
However, Schwab found Adams to restore the double-digit lead to 76-66, and the Eagles made free throws down the stretch to finish off the win.
In all, five IVCC players finished in double-digits scoring.
Schwab led all scorers with 21 points, while Adams and Corey McCrary both chipped in 16 points. Finney added 13 points and Murray with 10.
The Eagles will take their 12-3 record on the road Saturday to South Suburban, which is ranked No. 5 in the nation in NJCAA Division II.
Kishwaukee 72, IVCC 40
IVCC coach Pat Cinotte was not nearly as happy with his squad as nothing seemed to go the way of the Eagles, which are ranked No. 10 in the nation.
IVCC’s Sydonia Daniels gave the Lady Eagles a 2-1 lead with an early basket, but it was the only advantage of the game for IVCC, which was ice cold the remainder of the contest.
The Eagles struggled to stop Kishwaukee’s Sinclair Cunningham, who sliced her way into the lane and hit multiple short jumpers.
She finished with a game-high 26 points and 18 rebounds.
“Cunningham is a great player, but she continued to get penetration after penetration into the lane uncontested for easy shots,” Cinotte said. “We did not compete at all tonight. Asya Williams and Joselynn Castelli played well, but overall that was about it. We have a very tough South Suburban team coming up Saturday and, if we want to win games against good teams, we’re going to have to play a lot better.”
Kishwaukee turned a 9-2 lead midway through the first half into a 32-11 advantage at halftime.
Cuningham had 16 points and 12 rebounds at the break, while IVCC had just 11 points and 13 turnovers.
Things did not change in the second half.
Princeton graduate C.J. Rhodes hit a 3-pointer and Williams putback cut the deficit to 39-21, but that’s as close as IVCC came.
Arnisha Thomas led the Eagles with 12 points, while Williams added eight points and Castelli six.
Brad Martin can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com.