In a game that saw five ties and eight lead changes, the Peru State men's basketball team had the lead at the right time – the end of the game.
The Bobcats held on for a 73-70 win over the visiting Grand View (Iowa) Vikings Wednesday night in the Al Wheeler Activity Center. This evened the season series as the Vikings had won earlier in the season on their home court.
With the win, Peru State improved to 14-4 on the season and more importantly, the 'Cats improved to 9-3 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart). Grand View dropped to 8-10 overall and are now 4-9 in conference action.
At the end of the night in conference play, the Bobcats moved into a tie for second behind Benedictine (Kan.) with William Penn (Iowa), which was upset at home by Culver-Stockton (Mo.).
First Half Action
Jamil Maddred (Camden, N.J.) scored the first bucket of the game at the 19:29 mark. Grand View would go on a 6-0 run before Nicholas Wurm (Adelaide, South Australia) hit a trey off an assist from KeShawn Wilson (Lincoln) who pulled the 'Cats back within one at 6-5.
Grand View would get a two-pointer before Wurm drained another trey coming on an assist from Wilson to tie it at 8-8 with 16:38 remaining in the first half.
After Maddred hit a trey to put the Bobcats up, Grand View countered with a three-pointer of their own to tie it at 11-11.
Following the 11-11 tie, Peru State would go on a 10-2 scoring run with a basket by Brandon Jones (Houston) making it 21-13 at the 12:21 mark.
Later, the 'Cats would extend their lead to 11 at 29-18 when Lyle Hexom (Omaha) drained a trey with 9:35 left in the first 20 minutes. Peru State would later still lead by 11 at 35-24 after Wilson hit a bucket off an assist from Jones with 6:39 on the clock.
It was at that point that Grand View made their first half comeback. The Vikings would outscore the Bobcats 17-2 to take a 41-37 lead with just 1:19 left in the first half.
A pair of free throws by Wilson cut the Grand View lead to two at halftime as the Vikings led 41-39.
Second Half Action
Deonte McReynolds (Chicago) drained a trey to start the second-half scoring on an assist from Jones to put Peru State up 41-40.
The teams would battle back and forth with Grand View having its largest lead of four at 58-54 with just over 11 minutes left in the contest.
It was at that point that the Bobcats started to regain control. Hexom started the run with a three-pointer on an assist from Jones and then Jones would dish it to Wilson who also hit a trey. Peru State led 60-58 at that point and would never relinquish the lead.
Tyrone Carey Jr. (Kansas City, Mo.) would follow with the team's third-straight three-pointer – also coming on an assist from Jones. A Hexom two-pointer would give the 'Cats the biggest lead of the second half at 65-58 with 8:45 left on the clock.
Grand View would pull back within two at 70-68 with 2:24 left on the clock before McReynolds hit a bucket in the paint off an assist from Maddred. The Vikings would then get a pair of free throws to make it 72-70 with 1:18 left in the contest.
Peru State missed some opportunities as they had three offensive rebounds with the last resulting in a foul on Grand View. Maddred would hit one of two free throws to give the 'Cats a one-possession lead with 19 seconds left.
The Vikings would call a timeout with nine seconds on the clock to set up a play to tie the game. An attempt with two ticks remaining was off with Wilson grabbing the rebound to seal the win.
Peru State made 27 of 60 field goal tries for 45% which included hitting 14 of 34 from long range for 41.2%. At the free throw line, the 'Cats did struggle a little making just 5 of 10 for 50%. Grand View went 28 of 70 in field goal tries for 40% while making 8 of 25 from three-point range for 32%. The Vikings hit 6 of 8 free throws for 75%.
Grand View had a small rebounding edge as they grabbed 37 boards compared to 34 for the 'Cats. The Vikings also dished out one more assist than the Bobcats as they had 15 dimes.
The 'Cats finished with ten turnovers while Grand View only had six. Peru State blocked twice as many shots as they finished with six. The Vikings doubled up the Bobcats in steals while finishing with eight.
Peru Player Statistics
Three Bobcats finished in double figures with Hexom leading the way with 19 game-high points. Wilson added 12 with Maddred finishing with 11. McReynolds added nine points.
Hexom finished with a double-double – his tenth of the season which is tops in the Heart – as he grabbed 13 game-high rebounds. Jones grabbed nine boards.
Jones dished out a game-high eight assists with Wilson handing out five. Hexom blocked three shots while Jones blocked two and Michael Wardy (Roca) being credited with one. Hexom also led the team with two steals.
The Bobcats will be on the road Saturday where they head to Central Methodist in Fayette, Mo., to face the Eagles at 4 p.m. Central Methodist is presently ranked 24th but lost Wednesday night to Baker (Kan.). The Eagles are now 12-6 on the season and 7-5 in conference play.
Next Thursday, the 'Cats will be heading to Lamoni, Iowa, to face Graceland at 7:30 p.m. The Yellowjackets are 11-6 overall and 7-5 in the Heart having won three straight.
Peru State will be next at home on Saturday, January 26, when they host #2 William Penn (Iowa) at 4 p.m. The Statesmen, since the latest ranking, have dropped two in a row. William Penn is now 15-3 overall and 9-3 in conference play.