WEST LIBERTY, WV – IUP used a strong second half to pull out a 76-68 victory over the East Stroudsburg Warriors in the first round of the NCAA Division 2 Men’s Championship at West Liberty.
East Stroundsburg started out with a quick pace and tight defense. Ball movement was leading to open three’s for Whis Grant and inside points for Terrance King. About midway through, IUP caught on and started to claw it’s way back, taking their first lead at the 8:30 mark at the first half.
At the half, East Stroudsburg led 34-30. East Stroudsburg was led by Grant’s 16 points on 6 of 7 shooting, including two three’s. King started out hot, scoring five points in the first three minutes but finished the half with only seven points and three rebounds.
For IUP, they were paced by a balanced attack from Wells and Souberbielle with 10 and 12 points respectively. Souberbielle added four boards in the first half.
The second half was a different story. IUP couldn’t be contained to the full court press of East Stroudsburg. “We play a 94-foot game,” East Stroudsburg coach Jeff Wilson said.
The Crimson Hawks started the second half on a 12-4 run behind Scooter Renkin. They sank seven of their first ten shots out of the gate to take a 42-38 lead at the 15:52 mark of the second half. East Stroudsburg countered with a 10-4 run of their own to take a quick 48-46 lead at the 12:06 mark.
It was all IUP after that. East Stroudsburg looked out of place after their press stopped working and IUP started using ball screens to create outside shots. “Shooting 64 percent in the second half, that’s how you get yourself beat in the NCAA Tournament,” Wilson said of IUP’s second half shooting.
IUP tied it up at 48-48 at the 11:40 mark and never looked back en route to a the victory. “They were ready to play and our guys responded as time went on,” IUP coach Joe Lombardi said after the game.
For East Stroudsburg, five seniors will leave, including Duane Johnson. After the game, Johnson talked about his career. He said it was “definitely a successful career.”
Grant, a sophomore, finished with 26 points before fouling out late in the game. Looking forward to next season he said, “[I’ll] just keep working on my craft, and getting better.”
Anthony Wells and Souberbielle led the way for IUP, finishing with 22 and 16 points respectively. Souberbielle added 8 rebounds to his performance.
Along with Grant’s 26 points, King added 11 points.
IUP will advance to play the winner of the Slippery Rock/ Winston Salem game in the second round.
Photo Credit: www.iup.edu