Both squads were playing in an unfamiliar gymnasium for the first time.
Unfortunately for the home team, it showed up much worse in the boxscore when compared to the visiting counterparts.
Indiana University Kokomo hosted its first home game as an NAIA-affiliated school Tuesday night at Kokomo High School and suffered its worst shooting performance of the season, falling to 3-7 on the year after an 81-61 loss to Brescia University.
The Cougars suffered through a 1-for-27 showing from 3-point range, preventing the hosts from ever attaining an offensive rhythm. The Bearcats entered the contest firing at a 33.5-percent clip from beyond the arc, but connect on 12 of 24 from 3-land Tuesday night, including 10 of 17 in the first half, digging IUK a hole it was never able to dig out of.
“I don’t know what the deal was. We’re better shooters than that,” IUK coach Jace Thompson said. “And, to be quite honest, we’ve seen five tapes on [Brescia] and they’re not that good of shooters. They hit everything [Tuesday] night and we couldn’t hit anything, so unfortunately every time we would seem to get on a roll and cut it down, we just could not hit anything.”
The Cougars were unable to connect on their first field goal until five minutes had ticked off of the clock in the first half, and by the that time, the Bearcats (4-6) had built a 17-6 advantage.
Brescia extended its lead to as many as 20 points in the first half, but a 13-0 run that spanned five minutes late in the first half helped IUK claw to within 11 by the half, 43-32.
The Bearcats started the second half on an 11-2 run through the first six minutes to stretch the lead back out to 20 at 54-34 with 14:11 to play. IUK got no closer than 11 the rest of the way.
The Bearcats entered the contest shorthanded and also had to deal with a distinct size advantage.
Brescia played all eight players that suited up, and despite only one player over 6-foot-3, was able to collapse in the paint enough to neutralize the Cougars’ front line, which featured 6-foot-7 Joby Renbarger and 6-8 Jacob Faust.
The sagging defense forced IUK to attack from distance, and in the end paid great dividends, as Brescia limited the Cougars to a 28 percent night from the field (21 of 73) and won the rebounding battle 50-44.
“We’re used to it. We weren’t any taller [Tuesday] night than we are on any other night,” Brescia coach Josh Gibson said. “We’ve focused a lot this year on technique — five guys boxing out and crashing the boards. That helps us stay in games where maybe we are outsized at a lot of positions.”
IUK point guard Reomey Northington had been sidelined with a shoulder injury early in the season, but led the Cougars on Tuesday night with 16 points in his first game action of the season.
“He can do it all, and is going to be a good change of pace for us,” Thompson said of Northington. “People who have already played us and get us again are going to be surprised because he’s a good change-of-pace point guard who sees the floor well, can get in the paint and finish.”
Renbarger added 14 points while Faust finished with eight. The post duo tied for the team lead in rebounds with eight apiece.
Hunter Rowe led Bresica with 20 points, while Troy Halcomb pulled down a game-high nine boards.
Both squads were playing in an unfamiliar gymnasium for the first time.
GASKINS: Hibbert’s block was thing of beauty
For the better part of the NBA season, ESPN devoted all kinds of time on SportsCenter episodes to replays of two dunks. Anyone who watches any ESPN at all surely knows the two to which I’m referring: 6-foot-11 DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers posterizing 6-3 Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons, and 6-8 LeBron James of the Miami Heat hammering home a dunk over 6-2 Jason Terry of the Boston Celtics.
Day after day, ESPN commentators lavished endless praise, which quickly grew tiresome. The dunks were strong, but Jordan and James were much taller and heavier than Knight and Terry and the dunkers also caught perfect alley-oop passes with the defenders in poor positions to defend. Still, ESPN commentators loved these plays.
I kept wondering if a great defensive play would receive the same kind of love.
Coons, Walker, Glassburn reach Victory Lane
When the dust settled Sunday evening at the Kokomo Speedway, a pair of drivers who have visited Victory Lane in the past at the local oval found themselves there once again while a talented up-and-comer hit the hallowed ground for the first time.
Jerry Coons Jr. had his way in the sprint car feature and Craig Walker seemed to get faster as the laps wound down to win the Street Stock main event, however Kokomo High School sophomore Kory Glassburn had to scratch and fight before scoring the first feature win of his career in the Thunder Car A-main.
Field is set for Indianapolis 500
After being bumped from the starting field while sitting on the qualifying line on pole day, Josef Newgarden turned the fastest time on bump day, assuring himself a spot in the Indianapolis 500.
The field of 33 cars will have one final opportunity to practice on Friday before next Sunday’s 97th running of the 500.
One year ago the Sarah Fisher Racing Team withdrew Newgarden’s entry on the first day of qualifying and had to qualify on bump day. This year the team decided not to make another qualifying run and got bumped.
Athlete of the week
Cole led the small-school Comets to the Kokomo Sectional title, their first title since 1998.
Kats regain tennis throne
At 10:51 a.m. Saturday morning, the bulk of Kokomo’s girls tennis team sprinted from the viewing hill to the east entrance of the tennis courts to mob No. 1 singles player Morgan Mohr as she came off the court following her 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Eastern’s Courtney Clark.
The No. 3 singles match was still raging, but the team match was already won. The Wildkats had reconquered the throne from two-time defending champion Eastern and were once again champions of the Kokomo Sectional.
Eastern boys track claims first sectional title since 1998
The boys track and field coach at Eastern High School from 1987 until last season, Paul Nicholson’s parting message to his team was simple: “Don’t deny the gift.”
That motto left such a lasting impression on the Comets’ returning athletes that they had it screen printed on their 2013 season T-shirts.
With Nicholson in attendance to celebrate with them, new coach Austin Roark and the Comets outlasted host Kokomo to win their first sectional title since 1998 Thursday night, topping the Wildkats by 3.5 points, 124.5-121.
Eastern, Kokomo favored in boys track sectional
Some of the names and faces have changed, but the plot remains much the same.
The Kokomo boys track and field sectional, much like last year, will likely be a two-horse race between the host and three-time defending champion Wildkats and Eastern, a team looking to break through and win its first sectional title since 1998.
Cole to jump at Miami University
Eastern athlete Grant Cole has only been a long jumper for two seasons, but being turned on to the event late in his career has landed him a scholarship to Miami University.
Comets roar to sectional title
As the old adage goes, it’s harder stay on top than it is to reach the top.
Eastern’s girls track and field team entered the 2012 postseason hoping to put in a strong enough effort to claim the program’s first sectional title.
Having done so, the Comets entered Tuesday’s postseason opener — the Madison-Grant Sectional — with a much larger bull’s-eye on their backs than in previous years.
Eastern proved up to the challenge, scoring a landslide victory to repeat as sectional champions with 125 points.
Dexter leaving Eastern
Eastern girls basketball coach Jeremy Dexter has stepped down from the Comet program after accepting the AD job at Churubusco last week. Churubusco is in Whitley County about 15 minutes west of Fort Wayne.
Dexter led the Comets to a Class 2A state runner-up finish this past season.
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- GASKINS: Hibbert’s block was thing of beauty