MBB: #9 Cougars stumble by 21 to #1 Indiana Wesleyan

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Top-ranked Indiana Wesleyan University outscored ninth-ranked

University of Saint Francis by 12 in the first half and nine in the second half for a 79-58 win at Hutzell Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon.

The Cougars (10-2, 2-1 Crossroads League) had their sights set on what they hoped would be a fifth straight win over opposition ranked No. 1, but the 11-0 Wildcats broke away from the third and final tie of the first half and game with a 15-2 surge that pretty much took any chance for an upset off the table. IWU, the only unbeaten team left in Crossroads League play at 3-0, opened up a 30-17 lead that never slipped back into single digits in the final seven minutes of the first half or the second half.

The Wildcats built a 44-32 lead by the end of the first half. Josh Hogan converted a 3-point play that whittled the IWU lead to 48-38 early in the second half, but that was the closest the Cougars got to IWU in the final 20 minutes. IWU cooled off from 65 percent shooting in the first half to 56 in the second half, but USF never mounted a serious run in the second half while shooting just 44 percent.

Kyle Sovine was the only Cougar to reach double figure scoring finishing with 14 points. Sophomore Kegan Comer, who had averaged 27.5 points a game in USF’s first two CL games, managed just eight points, six coming in the first half. Austin Fox scored nine points while Bryce Lienhoop added eight points.

Lane Mahurin led IWU with 22 points. Zac Vendewater finished with 13, Josh Mawhorr 12 and Jacob Johnson 11.

USF focuses on finals next week before heading to Florida to play in the Northwood University Tournament in West Palm Beach, Fla. The Cougars play Florida

National on Friday at 5 p.m. and fifth-ranked Northwood at 7 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 13). USF plays its next home game on Tues., Dec. 30 when Concordia University (MI) invades Hutzell Athletic Center for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off after the USF women play Indiana Tech starting at 5:30 p.m.

NOTES: IWU wins its 16th consec. gm, halts USF 6-gm win streak….IWU leads series 48-45 . . . Mahurin 16 pts 1H for IWU. . .IWU 25-1 over last 26 games. . . IWU win snaps USF 4-game win streak in games against No. 1, USF now 4-2 v. NAIA Top 25 No. 1 teams . . . 1st gm this season Comer didn’t reach double figure scoring . . . 1st double figure scoring gm for Sovine in last five games. . . 5th dble figure scoring gm of season for Sovine. . . 1st time this season USF failed to reach 60 pt plateau . . . IWU won its first two CL games by 5 points apiece.

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