116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — In the last nine games for the Coe men's basketball team, eight have been decided by 10 points or less.
In order to compete in the rugged and unpredictable American Rivers Conference, teams must win their share of close contests.
The Kohawks (10-7, 5-3 ARC) have won five of the eight such tussles, including the last two and now stand alone in third place in the league.
'It's the difference in our league,' Coe Coach Bryan Martin said after the Kohawks trimmed Loras, 81-74, in an ARC game Wednesday night at Kohawk Arena. 'It obviously could be the difference between an average season and a good or great season or a bad season. We have got to win the close ones in league play. We have got really good senior leadership, the guys that have been through it. They believe now.'
The Kohawks were led by 6-foot-6 senior forward Austin Roth, who scored a team-high 19 points and also added three assists, two rebounds and a steal. The Hudson graduate leads Coe in scoring with 15.9 points per game, nearly six full points ahead of his number from last season.
'I came in playing a small forward or power forward position my freshman year,' Roth said. 'So playing the five now is a little different. It allows me to spread the floor on bigger guys. Makes defense a little tough to really get in there. But the true thing is, we are so, so evenly spread out on offense. There are eight of us that can go for 20 any given night. That is really reassuring.'
Four Kohawks scored in double figures against Loras. Former Mount Vernon prep Tommy Hook and Josh Schmitt each posted 14 points, while sophomore forward Jarad Kruse added 13 off the bench.
'Our guys do a nice job with sharing the ball, recognizing who is hot and just taking what the defense gives us in terms of execution on the offensive end,' Martin said.
The victory was just the second for Coe in its last nine meetings against Loras. Rowen McGowen scored 24 points for Loras (11-6, 4-4), which now drops to fourth place in the ARC behind Coe, second-place Buena Vista and league juggernaut Nebraska Wesleyan.
'This was a huge win for that,' Roth said. 'We kind of separate from some other teams that are playing well. Everyone is playing well. … You don't know who is going to come every night. It is huge to separate ourselves into the top three, because we know we can play with the two ahead of us.'
Coe hosts Central on Saturday.
AT KOHAWK ARENA
Coe 81, Loras 74
Rowan McGowen 6-16 8-9 24, JT Ford 9-17 2-2 21, Cole Navigato 6-11 3-4 15, Jake Healy 2-5 5-6 9, Jordan Matthews 0-3 1-2 1, Ben Burkholder 1-1 2-4 4, Jackson Kolinski 0-1 0-0 0, Jeff Kratz 0-2 0-0 0, Ocean Johnson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-57 21-27 74.
Austin Roth 7-12 5-7 19, Tommy Hook 2-8 9-9 14, Josh Schmitt 6-7 0-0 14, Adam McDermott 1-3 2-2 4, Jacob Robertson 0-3 1-4 1, Jarad Kruse 5-8 2-2 13, TJ Kaufmann 2-2 1-1 7, Ray Thrapp 3-3 0-1 6, Zach Niemeyer 1-1 0-0 3, Dom Robertson 0-1 0-0 0, Greg Hall 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 27-50 20-26 81.
Halftime — Coe 39, Loras 32. 3-point goals — Loras 5-19 (McGowen 4-10, Ford 1-2, Navigato 0-1, Healy 0-1, Mathews 0-2, Kolinski 0-1, Jeff Kratz 0-2), Coe 7-13 (Hook 1-4, Schmitt 2-3, Kruse 1-1, Kaufmann 2-2, Niemeyer 1-1, Hall 0-2). Team fouls — Loras 24, Coe 23. Fouled out — Loras (Navigato). Rebounds — Loras 32 (Healy, Ford 9), Coe 30 (Robertson 8). Assists — Loras 7 (Ford 4), Coe 17 (Kaufmann 4). Technical fouls — None. A —