#3 William Penn (14-1, 4-1 Heart) is now tied with the Yellowjackets (10-6, 4-1 Heart) at the top of the North Division standings, doing so with a blistering second half that saw the team shoot 60.7% from the field and 72.7% from behind the arc.
The visitors were slow to get started Saturday, making just two of their first 14 shots. The navy and gold trailed 14-7 seven minutes into play, but rallied back to take the advantage momentarily. Both teams then each enjoyed small runs down the stretch with GU eventually holding a 38-37 edge at the break.
The home squad remained in the lead for the first half of the latter stanza, but the Statesmen got hot from deep with four consecutive three-pointers, including three by Corbin Medley (Sr., Rogersville, Mo., General Accounting). The senior was electric, going 8-for-9 overall, headlined by a 6-for-7 effort from three-point land, for a game-high 22 points off the bench.
“I am very happy for Corbin; it was definitely his night,” Head Coach John Henry said. “It was also great as his parents and grandparents were at the game.”
Graceland responded with six straight of its own to knot the contest at 64-64 with 7:16 to go, but seven unanswered put the navy and gold on top for good. The Statesmen went up by a game-high 10 points at 80-70 with 2:07 to go and held on by connecting their final six free throws. While the last two minutes were excellent, the charity stripe was actually a weak spot for the victors, who finished just 14-for-23 overall.
Surprisingly, William Penn’s 90 points are a season low; the team entered Saturday leading NAIA Division I with 108.4 points per game.
Aakim Saintil (Sr., West Orange, N.J., Business Management) finished just behind Medley in scoring with 21 points as he made five trifectas and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the line. WPU, which outshot GU 50.8%-48.4%, was incredible from deep at 51.9% (14-for-27).
Terrell Thompson (Sr., Indianapolis, Ind., Wellness and Recreation) produced 14 points and dished out a contest-high eight assists. Dominique Shaw (Sr., Lufkin, Texas, Wellness and Recreation), with 12 points, and Mikeal Donaldson (Sr., Columbia, S.C.), with 11, also reached double figures.
JC Washington (Sr., Houston, Texas, Sociology) tallied just four points, but was a major presence on the boards and on defense with team highs in rebounds (7), steals (3), and blocks (2). The Statesmen lost the rebounding battle (36-32) for the first time this year, but were better in turnovers, committing just 10 mistakes (13 for GU). That resulted in a 16-13 mark in points off turnovers.
“This was a great road win for our program,” Henry said. “We overcame a lot tonight, including transportation issues, and we did not play well for most of the game. We fortunately stayed together, made enough shots, and played just enough defense to win.”
Next Up: William Penn returns to Oskaloosa next Wednesday to host Heart rival Grand View in the annual Toilet Paper game at 7:30 p.m. The first 1,000 fans through the doors will receive a free PennZone t-shirt.
This coverage was provided as a news release sent to KMZN by Wade Steinlage, William Penn University Sports Information Director.