SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – No. 1-seed Indiana Wesleyan University men’s basketball is headed back to the NAIA Fab Four. IWU led wire-to-wire in an 86-68 victory over No. 2-seed Morningside (Iowa) to reach the program’s third consecutive national semifinals and fourth in five years.
- NAIA DII National Championship Quarterfinals
- Score: Indiana Wesleyan def. Morningside, 86-68
- Records: Indiana Wesleyan 29-7 | Morningside 28-7
- NAIA Top- 25 Rank: Indiana Wesleyan – No. 4 | Morningside – No. 5
- Championship Seed: Indiana Wesleyan – No. 1 | Morningside – No. 2
- Location: Heritage Court | Sanford Pentagon | Sioux Falls, South Dakota
- Joel Okafor: 8 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists
- Kyle Mangas: 19 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists
- Grant Smith: 8 points, 5 assists
- Canaan Coffey: 12 points, 4-9 3FG, 6 rebounds
- Jacob Johnson: 13 points, 6-7 FG, 8 rebounds, 4 assists
- Evan Maxwell: 22 points, 9-16 FG, 3-5 3FG, 3 blocks
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Indiana Wesleyan played a stellar first half to take a 43-26 lead into halftime. IWU bookended the opening half with two key runs. Indiana Wesleyan scored the game’s first eight points and then ended the half with a 23-8 run.
- Indiana Wesleyan continued to build their lead early in the second half. Jacob Johnson grabbed an offensive board and put it back in for a 57-32 lead. The 25-point advantage was the largest of the night.
- Morningside made one final push. The Mustangs scored 25 of the next 35 points to close the deficit to 10 at 67-57.
- After trading buckets, Indiana Wesleyan produced the key sequence late with a Canaan Coffey 3-pointer followed by a Jacob Johnson dunk to extend the lead to 74-59 with four minutes left to play.
INSIDE THE BOXSCORE
- Indiana Wesleyan reaches the program’s third consecutive national semifinal game and fourth in five years. The last school to accomplish that feat was Cornerstone (Mich.) with a 1999 appearance and then three straight from 2001-03. Northwestern (Iowa) also made three straight national semifinal games from 2001-03.
- The Wildcats dominated down low as they outscored the Mustangs 46-18 in the paint. IWU also won the board battle 48-26.
- Morningside’s 68 points is their second lowest output of the season. The IWU defense also held an opponent to a season-low 20 field goals made.
- Kyle Mangas has scored more points in one season than any other Wildcat before him. His game-opening bucket pushed him pass Lane Mahurin into first all-time and he now has 775 points.
- Kyle Mangas and Evan Maxwell are now the most prolific scoring duo in program history. They have combined for 1,405 points this season and passed Lane Mahurin and Bob Peters who scored 1,366 points in 2016-17.
COACH TONAGEL SAYS…
- On the Wildcats’ performance…
“We came out with a punch and fire. The guys were together and our they looked like they were having so much fun.”
- On Evan Maxwell and Joel Okafor’s play this week…
“[Evan] has been the Most Outstanding Player this tournament for us. He has been dominant and locked in. I am really proud of the big fella. Joel had seven assists and one turnover. He is a warrior. I am so proud of where he’s come from and what he’s doing.”
- On the stout defensive effort tonight…
“I thought Morningside was the best offensive team in the tournament but I knew they had some defensive weaknesses. Our guys went at those today and we were successful because of it.”
- On playing IU East a second time this season…
“We are so different now and so are they. They are No. 1 in the country and haven’t lost since November. They are really quick and they have great guard play. It will be a great battle.”
NEXT TIME OUT
- Indiana Wesleyan advanced past the weekend and earns a spot in the NAIA Fab Four. IWU plays another No. 1-seed in IU East at 7 p.m. on Monday. The national semifinal appearance is the fourth for the Wildcats in the last five years.