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Balanced scoring leads Peru State men past Clarke

Staff Writer
Syracuse Journal-Democrat

A very balanced scoring effort helped lead the Peru State men's basketball team to an upset win on Saturday in Dubuque, Iowa.

The Bobcats had five players score in double figures while topping the Clarke Pride 83-70 on the Pride's home court.

With the win, Peru State improves to 12-10 overall and more importantly to 11-6 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart). Clarke, who was receiving votes in the most recent NAIA DI Coaches' Top 25 Poll, fell to 16-7 on the season and 12-5 in conference play.

The 'Cats are now fourth in the Heart standings, just 2.5 games behind league-leading William Penn (Iowa), 1.5 games behind Clarke, and one-half game behind Benedictine (Kan.).

First Half Action

The first half was pretty much dominated by the Pride. After they scored the first two points of the game, Henry Tanksley (Lincoln) hit a trey to give Peru State its only lead of the half at 3-2 with 19:06 left on the clock.

Clarke would score the next 16 straight points to lead 19-3 with 13:37 on the clock. Tanksley would drain another trey only to see the Pride hit a long-range shot of their own to lead 22-6. With 12:34 left in the half, Devon Colley (Las Vegas) hit a bucket in the paint and then later Deonte McReynolds (Chicago) hit a trey to pull the 'Cats within 11 at 22-11.

The Pride would eventually lead by as many as 17 at 29-12 with 9:42 left in the first half. Nick Brannon (Las Vegas) would get a second-chance bucket after grabbing an offensive rebound. Later, Colley would make one of two free throws to make it 29-15 with 8:12 to go.

The Bobcats would get back within single digits at the 5:38 mark after Kendrick Robinson (Chicago) hit a trey making it 31-23.

Once again Clarke would build their lead back up to 13 at 39-26 before Robinson hit a pair of free throws and then McReynolds drained a trey. With 1:38 left in the half, Peru State trailed 39-31.

The halftime score was 42-33 Clarke.

Second Half Action

The Bobcats would start the second half with ten straight points. O'Nandi Brooks (Brooklyn, N.Y.) hit a bucket in the paint with 19:33 on the clock to start the run. Robinson followed with a three-pointer and then Brannon hit a bucket to make it 42-40 with 17:57 left in the game. At the 17:11 point, Colley hit a trey to give the Bobcats a 43-42 lead – the first since early in the game.

Clarke came back and score the next seven points to go back on top by six. Tanksley stopped the run with a pair of free throws and then Isaac Simpson (Papillion) hit a trey to pull the 'Cats within one at 49-48.

Later, after the game was tied at 53-53 when Brannon hit a bucket at the 11:27 point in the game, a Robinson bucket would give the Bobcats the lead for good.

With 6:54 left in the game, a Tanksley trey, off an assist from Colley, gave Peru State its first double-digit lead at 67-56.

At the 3:08 point on the clock, a bucket by Colley in the paint gave the Bobcats their largest lead of the game at 78-59.

While the Pride would outscore Peru State 11-5 in the last part of the game, the 'Cats had pulled off the upset winning 83-70.

Team Statistics

The Bobcats shot the ball extremely well in the contest from the floor. Peru State made 27 of 54 field goals for 50%. This included hitting 17 of 28 from behind the arc for 60.7%. At the charity stripe, the 'Cats made 12 of 19 for 63.2%. Clarke hit 24 of 59 from the floor for 40.7% which included hitting 8 of 22 from long range for 36.4%. At the free throw line, the Pride made 14 of 23 for 60.9%.

Both teams grabbed 35 rebounds. The Bobcats dished out seven assists while Clarke finished with five.

The Pride had 11 turnovers – three more than Peru State. The Bobcats blocked two shots while Clarke had one block. Both teams finished with six steals.

Peru Individual Statistics

Robinson led Peru State with 21 game-high points. Tanksley finished with 16 while Colley added 14. Brannon and McReynolds each had 12.

Brannon was one rebound shy of a double-double as he had nine game-high boards. Robinson added seven and Colley grabbed five.

Robinson, Colley, and McReynolds each dished out two assists.

Brannon and Brooks were credited with one block each.

Simpson led the team with two steals while four others each had one.

Upcoming Contests

Peru State will be playing one more non-conference opponent before finishing the regular season with seven-straight Heart contests.

On Tuesday, February 4, the Bobcats will be travelling to Vermillion, S.D., to face NCAA DI opponent South Dakota for a 7 p.m. tip. Presently, the Coyotes are 15-8 on the season and played Omaha at noon in Summit league action on Sunday. They were trailing the Mavericks 44-36 late in the first half at the time this release was done.

Saturday, February 8, the Bobcats will start their final three-plus weeks in Heart play when they host Evangel (Mo.) at 4 p.m. The Crusaders are just 1.5 games behind the 'Cats in the league standings as they are 9-7 in the Heart and are 13-9 overall.

The following week Peru State will host Grand View (Iowa) on Feb. 12 and then Central Methodist (Mo.) on February 15.