No. 13 Kirkwood men's basketball holds off NIACC on emotional night at Johnson Hall

Chris King scores 23 points in 76-63 victory

Kirkwood’s Chris King (21) calls to a teammate in the first period at a men’s basketball game with Southeastern Community College at Kirkwood Community College in Johnson Hall on the Kirkwood Campus in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Kirkwood’s Chris King (21) calls to a teammate in the first period at a men’s basketball game with Southeastern Community College at Kirkwood Community College in Johnson Hall on the Kirkwood Campus in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Kirkwood men’s basketball coach Bryan Petersen called the game, “a step back.”

Considering the emotion of the night, he might just give his guys a pass.

Kirkwood sophomore guard Chris King led all scorers with 23 points as the 13th-ranked Eagles held off a late charge and defeated NIACC, 76-63, in an NJCAA Division II game Wednesday night at Johnson Hall.

“I wish we would have played a little bit better,” Petersen said. “It was a different type of night for us, obviously, with everything that was going on with emotions.”

During the game, Kirkwood held a special fundraiser for assistant coach Ben Jacobson, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor three months ago. Jacobson is back on the bench with the Eagles while he receives radiation and chemotherapy treatments in Iowa City.

“I know our guys really care about Coach Jake,” Petersen said. “They came out, they wanted to play well. We weren’t great at moments but we found a way to get the win.”

Kirkwood (12-4, 2-0 ICCAC) led by as many as 17 points at 37-20 late in the first half, but NIACC used a 28-17 burst to get within 54-48 with eight minutes left in the game.

Four consecutive 3-pointers — two by King — pushed the Kirkwood advantage to 18 points. King accounted for six of Kirkwood’s 11 3-pointers.

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“Just sticking to the game plan,” said King, who prepped at Des Moines Hoover. “We knew that they would make their runs and we’d make our runs, too.”

Former Lewis Central prep Kyle Arrington posted 10 points and seven rebounds, while freshman Bailey Kale and sophomore Ethan Meeker each distributed five assists. Meeker also tallied eight points.

Freshman guard Orrington Hamilton led NIACC (11-5, 0-2) with 22 points and three assists.

Kirkwood — winners of four in a row and seven of eight — visits Iowa Lakes on Saturday.

“We’ve got a big, tough game on Saturday,” Petersen said. “Iowa Lakes is a really good team. It’s up there at their place. It’s a tough place to play.”

AT JOHNSON HALL

NIACC (63): Tahjay Blackmon 0 0-0 0, Orrington Hamilton 7 4-6 22, Jaycob Payne 3 0-0 8, Cam McPherson 2 0-0 5, Izaya Sims 2 1-2 6, Mac Skogen 2 0-0 5, Hollis Hardwick 7 1-1 16, Gunnar Myers 0 1-2 1, Kaleb Anderson 0 0-0 0, Totals 23 7-12 63.

KIRKWOOD (76): Bailey Kale 2 0-0 6, Ethan Meeker 3 0-0 8, Chris King 6 5-6 23, Doug Wilson 2 0-1 4, Kyle Arrington 4 2-3 10, LJ Stansbury 1 1-3 3, Jay Small 1 2-2 5, Tajen Ross 3 0-0 6, Carlo Marble 1 4-6 6, Taejuan Johnson 2 1-2 5, Justin Storey 0 0-0 0, Totals 25 15-23 76.

NIACC 25 38—63

Kirkwood 37 39—76

Halftime — Kirkwood, 37-25. Three-point goals — NIACC 10 (Hamilton 4, Payne 2, McPherson 1, Sims 1, Hardwick 1, Skogen 1), Kirkwood 11 (King 6, Meeker 2, Kale 2, Small 1). Rebounds — NIACC 31 (Payne 13), Kirkwood 27 (Arrington 7). Assists – NIACC 9 (Hamilton 3), Kirkwood 18 (Kale 5, Meeker 5). Turnovers — NIACC 19, Kirkwood 13. Total fouls — NIACC 23, Kirkwood 15. Fouled out — Blackmon.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

 

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