Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Mustangs top Peru State for clutch win

The Mount Mercy Mustangs won a crucial game for their absent head  coach Saturday. Of more importance, they won a crucial game for  themselves.

The Mustangs, scrambling for a spot in the Heart of America Conference  playoffs, bumped off Peru State, 89-85, Saturday with their backs  against the wall.

Coach Aaron Jennings and starting guard Streeter McIlravy missed the  game with the flu and Dennis McKinney, their leading scorer, got hit  in the head in the second half and did not return to the game as a  precautionary measure against a possible concussion.

The Mustangs found a way to win anyway against one of the top teams in  the league.

"I'm just really proud of the guys," said assistant coach Martez  Creighton, who subbed for Jennings. "They worked hard the last couple  of days in practice.

"It's not ideal when your head coach is out, obviously. They came out  and executed, just like we wanted them to

The top eight teams in the Heart of America Conference standings will  make the league tournament. Mount Mercy is currently two games out of  eighth place with two games left in the regular season, including a  daunting trip to seventh-ranked William Penn on Wednesday.

Tyler Kelley, averaging 4.7 points when the day began, tossed in a  career-best 23 points with 7-for-7 shooting from the floor, including  3-for-3 on 3-pointers, and was 6-for-7 at the foul line. He was proud  of the way the Mustangs responded to adversity.

"That just feels awesome," Kelley said after the clutch victory. "Down  a few players and we rose up for the occasion and got it done.

"I knew we were missing a few key players. I knew someone had to step  up. The first one that left my hand felt good, so I just took off from  there."

Kelley, a 6-foot-4 sophomore from Manchester, played 32 minutes and  did not commit a single turnover.

"Super-impressed with Kelley," said Creighton. "We've been trying to  get him to open up more, come out of his shell a little bit. I thought today he was really aggressive and did some  really good things on both ends."

Davion Watson hit a free throw with seven seconds left to give the  Mustangs their four-point lead at 89-85, effectively sealing the victory. He finished with 14 points, six rebounds and four  assists.

Bailey Basala scored 20 points for Mount Mercy. RoyShawn Webb  collected 15 points, five rebounds and five assists while playing all 40 minutes at point guard. McKinney scored 13 points in 16  minutes.

Henry Tanksley scored 26 points for Peru State and Devon Colley netted  20. Peru State stands in third place in the conference at 14-8 and is 15-13 overall.

Mount Mercy squared its overall record at 14-14.

PERU STATE (85): Isaac Simpson 2-3 0-0 5, Devon Colley 8-19 2-4 20,  Henry Tanksley 8-17 7-12 26, Deonte McReynolds 2-5 1-2 7, Nick Brannon 7-9 0-1 15, O'Nandi Brooks 2-3 2-4 6, Drew Switzer  0-2 0-0 0, Cade Connell 0-00-0 0, Noah Vasa 3-6 0-0 6. Totals 32-64 12-23 85.

MOUNT MERCY (89): Tyler Kelley 7-7 6-7 23, Dennis McKinney 4-10 3-4  13, Davion Watson 4-10 4-8 14, Bailey Basala 6-12 6-8 20, RoyShawn Webb 6-11 0-3 15, Davarea Loggins 0-3 0-0 0, Christian  Reischauer 1-1 0-0 2, DJ Johnson 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 29-57 19-30 89.

Halftime - Mount Mercy 43, Peru State 36. 3-point goals - Peru State  9-24 (Simpson 1-2, Colley 2-6, Tanksley 3-6 McReynolds 2-5, Brannon 1-1, Switzer 0-2, Vasa 0-2), Mount Mercy 12-27  (Kelley 3-3, McKinney 2-5, Watson 2-5, Basala 2-5, Webb 3-4, Loggins 0-3, Johnson 0-2).


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