In a contest that could have gone in either team's favor, the Statesmen cagers kept their league title hopes alive with a 67-63 win over Mount Mercy in Midwest Collegiate Conference action Saturday.
The Statesmen (19-9, 11-3 MCC) completed the season sweep of the Mustangs by overcoming a 30-28 intermission deficit.
After scoring the game's first seven points, Penn played very even with Mount Mercy (13-13, 6-8 MCC) as neither team held a lead bigger than five until the final minutes.
Following 11 lead changes and seven ties, the Statesmen finally took control of the matchup by going on a 10-2 run to lead by seven at 56-49 with 3:38 left in regulation. The Mustangs narrowed the margin to just two in the final seconds, but two free throws by Kyle Creamer
(Sr., Ottumwa, Ottumwa HS) secured the win.
Penn's two victories this week give the program its fifth-straight season with ten or more league victories. During that stretch, which began in the 2004-2005 season, the Statesmen have won three regular-season titles and own a 57-15 record (.792 winning percentage).
The win keeps Penn's hopes of a fourth-consecutive conference regular-season championship still mildly alive as the Statesmen trail MCC-leading Grand View (13-2) by one and a half games and Iowa Wesleyan (12-3) by one half game.
Penn cannot win the crown outright, but can tie Grand View if it wins its final two games against Waldorf Wednesday and Viterbo Saturday and if Grand View loses to Mount Mercy Wednesday.
Grand View can clinch the league crown outright with a win at home versus Mount Mercy.
Iowa Wesleyan can also not win the crown outright, but can share the title with a win over Waldorf Saturday and a Grand View loss.
The visitors won basically every important statistical category Saturday, including field goal percentage with a 40.0%-37.7% edge. Penn also outrebounded Mount Mercy 44-37 and owned a 17-11 advantage in free throws made. The Statesmen committed just 16 turnovers, while forcing the Mustangs into 19 mistakes, resulting in a 16-11 edge in points off turnovers.Kris Miller
(Jr., Belleville, Mich., Belleville HS) led Penn with 16 points, while Alex Robinson
(Sr., San Antonio, Texas, Texas-Pan-American) had his fifth double-double of the year with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Both Miller and Robinson had a game-high two blocks each.Joe Womack
(Sr., Tacoma, Wash., Lower Columbia CC) joined the pair in double figures with ten points off the bench.Jesse DeGeest
(Jr., Tracy, Twin Cedars HS) added eight points, while Alvin Robertson
(So., San Antonio, Texas, Fort Smith CC) contributed six in addition to tying for a game high with six assists.
Miller finished with a contest-best three steals as well.Next:
Penn travels to Forest City to face Waldorf Wednesday in MCC action at 5:30 p.m. The contest will be webstreamed on the William Penn Athletics website, courtesy of Stretch Internet, at http://www.statesmenathletics.com/liveAudio.php