By: Lucas Packer
The IU South Bend men's basketball team exploded on Roosevelt University today in the SAC, avenging an earlier loss to these same Lakers in resounding fashion, closing it out with a final score of 69-47. It wasn't even that close. In the process the Titans also set a new record for the program, as it gives head coach Chad Tapp his 42nd victory in his third season at the helm, an all-time record for Titan wins over a three-year span.
The game itself was, in a word, boring, and I mean that in the best way possible. It started out all Titans, with Steven Heatherly continuing the hot shooting he has showcased of late by knocking down two early threes, then it was more Titans, as they seemed to score on nearly every possession, and the first half finished off with, you guessed it, more Titans. At the intermission, IU South Bend had knocked down 58% of their shots from the field and had gone 11/13 from the charity stripe, all while harassing the Lakers into numerous turnovers and just 38% shooting. The score at the break was 42-25 and the Titans were in full command.
The second half was more of the same, as the Titans got a defensive stop on the Laker's first possession and then went down and scored on their own. They never looked back, continuously applying pressure on the defensive end and sharing the ball with each other on offense, making the game easy for each other, which is something good teams do, and make no mistake, this is a good team. When this IU South Bend team plays together, when their leaders lead and the younger guys contribute, they are extremely hard to beat, as we saw today. As the game dwindled down, IU South Bend had opened up a thirty point lead before Coach Tapp finally called the dogs off, inserting his bench guys for the final handful of minutes.
By game's end, four Titan players had scored in double figures and even more had contributed. Steven Heatherly led the way with 16 points, Austin Fox had a fantastic game, scoring 15 points on 6/9 shooting to go with 7 rebounds, Alanzo Bass pitched in with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists, and Kyle Heatherly finished off the double digit scoring with 10 points of his own. Despite all the scoring, it was two other players for the Titans that really had huge impacts in this contest. Mark White, a redshirt freshman that started at point guard today, controlled the game despite never taking a shot. More importantly than scoring, he didn't have a single turnover but dished out 4 assists and grabbed three rebounds while controlling the tempo and playing fantastic transition defense on numerous occasions. The other Titan that played huge was Riley Stichter, another freshman. His line? 8 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks (and it seemed like more) and a steal. Not bad, but really not indicative of the impact he had on the game, as he was consistently in the middle of every scrum, fighting for every possession and playing stellar defense despite being undersized compared to Roosevelt's big men. It was an outstanding team win for IU South Bend, who finished off shooting 52% from the field for the game on 13 team assists versus just 11 turnovers. They also held the Lakers to a dismal shooting day, as they finished at just 32% for the game and put only one player in double figures, which was Tyree York with 12. It was the sixth time in the last eight games that IU South Bend held their opponent to under 40% shooting from the field.
With the win, the Titans move to 15-8 on the year, including 12-5 in conference, good enough maintain their stranglehold on third place in the CCAC as they enter the final stretch of the season. It is also the ninth win in the last twelve games for IU South Bend. They are next in action on Wednesday, January 23rd as they invite Trinity Christian College into the SAC for a game at 7:30pm. For those unable to attend, the game will also be broadcast LIVE at www.iusbtitans.com.