MVNU takes league lid-lifter despite Leafs’ three hot hands

by | Nov 21, 2018 | Headlines, RRSN News | 0 comments

Ostrowski, Cotton go for season highs and Stuckey keeps 25-point string going

GOSHEN, Ind. — Demarkus Stuckey scored 25 points for the third straight game Tuesday night in the Goshen College men’s basketball conference opener, a 92-77 loss to NAIA Division II No. 15 Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Gunden Gymnasium.

Ben Cotton scored a career-high 11 points off the bench for the Maple Leafs, who also got 13 points from Patryck Ostrowski in the second-biggest scoring night of his career. Cotton led the team with 5 rebounds, matching his career high for the third time this season.

Mount Vernon Nazarene improved to 8-0 overall and 1-0 in the Crossroads League behind 26 points from Jevon Knox, one of six double-figure scorers. Brett Vipperman and Jacob Paul pulled down 8 rebounds apiece to lead all players as Paul played every minute of the game and Vipperman played all but 2.

Stuckey’s 8 assists and 3 steals were both game highs: the Maple Leafs forced 17 turnovers while giving the ball up 11 times. Brandon Watkins added 3 assists in his second straight start.

Each team scored on its opening possession and MVNU got its first five baskets from for players in opening an 11-5 lead in just over four minutes. Goshen responded with an 8-2 run behind 6 points from Noel and a pair from Stuckey to tie the score at 13 with 14:12 remaining.

Carter Boos gave the Maple Leafs their first lead on a 3-pointer with 13:17 left in the half before Stuckey did the same after a pair of MVNU free throws. Ostrowski scored Goshen’s next 5 points, culminating in a game-tying 3-pointer at the 10:25 mark.

Knox scored the game’s next 6 points, followed by 4 of Jordi Mas’ 15, to push the Cougar lead to 33-23 before Austin Branagan got Goshen back on the scoreboard. Knox, Branagan and Jeremiah Roberts all scored 4 points apiece over the last 6 minutes of the half and MVNU led 43-29 at halftime.

Watkins opened the second half going 4-for-4 at the foul line for four of his team’s first six points. Jones scored MVNU’s first 6 points followed by two old-fashioned 3-point plays from Knox; Stuckey added 12 points in an 8-minute span for the Maple Leafs as the teams combined to sprinkle three more conventional 3-pointers into the equation.

If that sounds fast-paced, it was: the teams combined for 44 points by the 12-minute mark of the second half.

Goshen trimmed the Cougars’ lead to 10 points on a pair of Stuckey free throws with 3:44 remaining, the closing salvo of an 8-0 run that kept MVNU off the scoreboard for more than two and a half minutes. Mas snapped that streak with back-to-back field goals and the Cougars finished the win with six free throws in the last 90 seconds.

Vipperman scored 14 points, Paul 13, Austin Jones 12 and Jeremiah Roberts 10 for the Cougars, who got 5 assists out of Paul. MVNU went 4-for-13 (30.8 percent) from 3-point range, more than 10 percentage points below its season average, but made up for that by going 22-for-28 (78.6 percent) at the foul line and 33-for-55 (60 percent) from the floor as a whole.

Goshen shot 27-for-61 (44.3 percent) from the floor; each team committed 23 personal fouls.

Quoting Goshen College head coach Jon Tropf:

“I was pleased with our effort. We battled to the end against a really good team. Our game plan was for them to beat us with 2s and to their credit they did that. We defended the 3 well and forced them to turn it over. While it’s not the result we wanted, there’s a lot of positives to build on.”

Up Next: Goshen visits Mishawaka, Indiana, next Wednesday to square off with conference rival Bethel College in the 119th meeting between the two schools. Tip-off is set for approximately 8 p.m. in the Wiekamp Center after the women’s game at 6 p.m. The seven-day break between games is the second-longest of Goshen’s season, trailing only the eight straight off days from December 9-16 during final exams.

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