PIPPA PASSES, KY. – A late 3-point bucket by forward Kendall Rollins with just 20 seconds remaining proved to be the backbreaker as the 10th ranked Indiana University East Red Wolves survived a gutsy performance by the Alice Lloyd Eagles to win 71-67. The River States Conference matchup was held in Pippa Passes on Jan. 7.
The contest was tight throughout as the hosts controlled the tempo. Despite this, the Red Wolves took an early lead and held it. Their advantage reached its zenith at 22-13 when guard Kyle Pipenger drained a trifecta with 5:13 remaining.
Fortunately for the home crowd, freshman guard Blake Smith sparked Alice Lloyd with 5 quick points to lead the Eagles on an 11-4 run to narrow the gap. When the horn sounded for intermission, ALC only trailed 30-26.
In the second half, the high-powered Red Wolves were contained and never led at any juncture by more than six points. ALC battled tooth and nail as the final stanza saw 7 ties. After Eagle junior guard Austin Crisp sank 2 clutch free throws with 4:11 remaining, the score was knotted at 64.
At 3:35, East would pull ahead by three (67-64) after Pipenger drilled a big triple. Eagle forward Jake Allen would earn one point back on 1-2 free throws only to see IU’s Pipenger hit 1-2 with 1:30 remaining to set the score at 68-65.
On their next possession, Alice Lloyd ran the clock down to 52 seconds and saw Smith drain a contested 17 footer to reduce the deficit to one, prompting a timeout from the visitors.
Out of the timeout, East ran the clock down and looked to quicksilver guard Jacoby Claypool to penetrate to the bucket in hopes of scoring or drawing a foul. The Eagles defense was prepared for him, however, and cut off the penetration. With the shot clock at 2 seconds, Claypool found Rollins as the only open man. Rollins only had time to catch and shoot before the clock expired, but his 22-foot bomb was true as it found the bottom of the net for his lone goal of the game.
In desperate need of a hoop, Alice Lloyd got the ball to Ryan House for a triple, but his attempt came up just short, finally sealing the victory for the relieved Red Wolves.
For ALC (4-11; 2-4 RSC), Crisp and Smith played excellently. Crisp sank 8-15 field goals and 6-7 free throws for a game-high 22 points while Smith finished 7-13 from the floor and sank both three-point and free throw attempts to finish with 18. Additionally, Crisp dished off a team-high 4 assists and tied House for the team lead in rebounds with 5.
For Indiana East (14-5; 5-1 RSC), Pipenger scored a team-high 17 points while Claypool contributed 15.
The statistics reveal the tightness of the contest. Alice Lloyd shot 47.2% (25-53; 6-18 threes) from the floor and 78.6% (11-13) from the charity line, compared to IUE which hit 47.4% (27-57; 9-20 threes) from the floor and 50% (8-16) from the charity line. East won the battle of the glass (27-25), assists (12-5), and steals (5-4) while the home team led in blocks (4-2).
ALC returns to action on Tuesday, January 10 when they host the Kentucky Christian University Knights at 8:00 pm.