PIPPA PASSES – Senior forward Tyler Rogers and senior guard Cody Stumbo combined for 53 points to propel the Alice Lloyd College Eagles to an exciting 84-72 victory over the Indiana University East Red Wolves in the KIAC Men’s Basketball Game of the Week on Tuesday night.
The action-packed affair was played before a large crowd at the Grady Nutt Athletic Center in Pippa Passes, Ky. It was a matcup of KIAC Colonial and Capital Division leaders, and a possible automatic bid to the NAIA Division II national tournament was on the line.
With the victory, Alice Lloyd (16-10, 12-4 KIAC) clinches the No. 1 playoff seed out of the Capital Division and at least a share of the division championship. It can claim the out-right division championship and earn an automatic national bid with a win in the season finale Saturday at home versus Ohio Christian.
The big home win for Alice Lloyd involved knocking off KIAC Colonial Division leader IU East (18-12, 12-4 KIAC), which could have earned the NAIA Division II national bid with a victory. IU East came in at No. 24 in the NAIA DII Top 25 Poll released just before tipoff.
In the opening half, the Eagles jumped out quickly to a 10-5 lead with 15:27 remaining, sparked by 8 points from Rogers and Stumbo.
However, fueled by the 3-point shooting of guard Lucas Huffman, the Red Wolves went on a 12-4 run over the next 6 minutes to take their first lead of the night at 17-14.
IU East eventually stretched its advantage to 31-24 following a bucket from Huffman with 3:15 showing in the half, and the visitors appeared poised to stretch their lead even further.
Much to the delight of the home crowd, Stumbo and guard Austin Crisp combined to score all 9 points in a 9-5 closing run, and reduced the IU East lead to 36-33 at the half.
Indiana East shot 14 for 30 in the opening half (7-13 from long range) for 46.7 percent while Alice Lloyd connected on 10-26 (1-10 from deep) for 38.5 percent. The Eagles remained close by sinking 12-14 free throws while the Wolves missed 3 of their 4 attempts.
In the final half, the Eagles would regain the lead for good at 41-39 following a Crisp drive at 16:27.
Fully aware of what was on the line, both squads battled hard. The teams traded hoops over the next 3 minutes with the hosts clinging to a 45-44 advantage.
ALC slowly pulled out to a 7 point lead, 55-48, with 9:53 remaining when Rogers was forced to leave the game with severe leg cramps.
Seizing advantage of the situation, East sprinted out on a quick 7-2 run to trail by just two, 57-55, at the 8:14 mark, and the crowd prepared for a nail-biting finish.
The fans would breathe a collective sigh of relief when Rogers returned after an Eagles timeout, and the lanky senior paid immediate dividends.
First, he scored on a nifty drive to the hoop. After a block on the other end, Rogers sunk a leaner in the paint while drawing the foul.
Then Stumbo continued things by dropping in a challenging shot and converting the old-fashioned three point charity toss. He then capped off the run with another three point play. Lastly, Stumbo proceeded to sink another leaner in the paint with 5:43 remaining.
When the dust had settled, the Eagles led 69-57 following the back-breaking, 12-2 flurry. Indiana East refused to lie down, but it would get no closer as Alice Lloyd salted the game away with free throws.
For the victorious Eagles, Rogers was a one-man wrecking crew as he finished the night with 28 points on 9-13 field goals and 10-11 free throws. He wasn’t finished as he hauled down 9 rebounds and recorded a huge 7 blocks; all were game highs.
Stumbo had some impressive drives, going 9-14 from the floor and 7-11 from the charity stripe for 25 points. Additionally, he snared 8 rebounds.
Crisp also hit 10-12 from the foul line and the sophomore would finish with 12 points and 4 assists while Dondre Warren chipped in with 10 points, and 6 rebounds. The Eagles dominated the boards, 43-26.
Indiana University East was led by Huffman with 23, including 7-12 from downtown. Parker Salinas added 18 while guard Jacoby Claypool contributed 10.
The Eagles finished the match-up going 27-55 for 49.1% from the floor while East swished 27-63 for 42.9% .They kept in striking distance on the strength of 14-29 deep shots, but lost the important battle of the glass, 43-26.
The Eagles return to action Saturday for a major showdown to complete the regular season against Ohio Christian University. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 PM at the Grady Nutt Athletic Center.