By: Lucas Packer
Despite fighting hard and keeping it close tonight against #2 Cardinal Stritch, the Titan men of IU South Bend finally succumbed to the Wolves down the stretch, largely due to turnovers and missed free-throws, losing 57-50. All that being said, there are no moral victories when you are attempting to reach the next level, so this one is chalked up simply as a loss for head coach Chad Tapp's squad. The question then becomes, how will the men respond? That remains to be seen moving forward but for now, the Titans simply have to let this one marinate a bit as they move on into their schedule. It was a game that was possibly a lost opportunity and hopefully ends up as a learning experience, and it was hard-fought down to the wire.
The first half was largely controlled by the Wolves, who went into the intermission up 29-21 after shooting 55% from the field, compared to IU South Bend, who shot 41% themselves. Cardinal Stritch was up by as much as ten but IU South Bend refused to go away, clawing to keep within striking distance. Coming out of the break, however, it appeared that the Titans were in position to take control of the game for themselves. The effort was intense on the defensive end of the floor, enabling the Titans to force turnovers and get out into the open floor. Eventually, IU South Bend tied the game before finally taking a one-point lead off of a Steven Heatherly three. From there on, it was a back and forth battle, but the Wolves, as you would expect the #2 team to do, answered the call, taking back the lead and going back up by five with only a few minutes left. The Titans had several opportunities down the stretch, closing the game to three in the last minutes, before back-to-back turnovers led to points for Cardinal Stritch and essentially ended the game, especially since the Titans could not hit free-throws down the stretch. IU South Bend's Alanzo Bass, a senior point guard who has been stellar thus far this season, turned in his worst game of the season, including missing on two different occassions as he stepped to the line for the front end of one-and-one free throw attempts in the final minutes. Bass eventually finished with just 4 points on 1/7 shooting. In the closing seconds, Wolves big man Darren Moore put the icing on the cake for Cardinal Stritch, throwing down a two-handed jam in the open floor for the final points of the contest.
For the game, IU South Bend shot 42% from the field, while CSU shot 49%. The Titans won the rebounding battle 28-20 but turned the ball over 16 times, compared to only 7 for the Wolves, which may have been the deciding factor in this one. The Titans were led in defeat by Steven Heatherly, who scored 19 points on 4/6 shooting from behind the arc. Cardinal Stritch was paced by Darren Moore with 16 points and 6 rebounds. The loss drops IU South Bend to 6-3 (4-3 CCAC). They are next in action Saturday, December 1 as they travel to face off against Andrews University at 8:30pm.