MARION, Ind. – Canaan Coffey sank a 3-point bucket as time expired to send No. 3 Indiana Wesleyan University men’s basketball to the Crossroads League Tournament championship game. The heroics highlighted an effort by the Wildcats that saw them overcome 17-point deficits in both halves vs. No. 9 Marian (Ind.).
WHAT A FINISHING KICK
Indiana Wesleyan trailed 63-46 with 10:27 to play in the game. That is when an Evan Maxwell bucket kick-started a 33-15 run to end the game and give IWU the shocking victory. It was the only lead for Indiana Wesleyan the entire game.
The finishing sequence began with a Kyle Mangas layup to close the gap to 77-76 with 6.8 seconds to play. IWU fouled TJ Henderson with 5.2 seconds on the clock and he missed the first attempt and hit the second attempt for a 78-76 score. Grant Smith took the inbounds pass and immediately pushed the ball up the court. He dropped a pass back to Canaan Coffey who sank the game-winner as the buzzer sounded as The Catalyst student section rushed the court to celebrate with the team.
NOT AN IDEAL START
The Wildcats had all sorts of problems in the first 17 minutes of the game. IWU missed their first 10 field goal attempts of the game until Joel Okafor broke that streak with a layup with 13:33 on the clock. A bucket by Cameron Wolter put Marian (Ind.) ahead 35-18 with just 3:18 to play before halftime. Indiana Wesleyan showed signs of life in the final 2:27 of the half as a 14-3 spurt closed the deficit to 38-32 at intermission.
ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP EFFORT
Indiana Wesleyan advances to the Crossroads League Tournament championship game for the fifth consecutive season. It is the 10th title game appearance in program history with wins in 2010, 2015, and 2018. IWU improves to 26-5 in league tournament games played in Luckey Arena.
“It was a crazy ending and we stole one today. There is something about a group of guys that believes in each other and are not fighting for themselves but for each other. You can call it luck but there is a togetherness factor that builds when you have a group of guys that are in a culture that we have.”
“Our guys just continued to fight. We weren’t making shots and this was our worse shooting night of the year. But we just continued to chip away. It was not only a great shot by Canaan but what a heads up play by Grant Smith. He races the ball up the floor and drops it off for Canaan. Smart play.”
NEXT FOR THE WILDCATS
Indiana Wesleyan will host the Crossroads League Tournament championship game in Luckey Arena on Tuesday at 7 p.m. No. 11 Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) defeated No. 5 Spring Arbor (Mich.) in triple overtime to send the title game to Luckey Arena.