116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - Mount Mercy squandered a 14-point lead because of some horrendous free throw shooting, but made the shots when it counted most Saturday at Hennessey Recreation Center.
Dondre Osborne splashed in four free throws in the final 51 seconds and No. 11 Mount Mercy held off William Penn, 91-83, for its 14th straight men's basketball victory.
The Mustangs (21-3, 8-0) hold a two-game lead over AIB in the loss column with four games left to play in the Midwest Collegiate Conference season.
Mount Mercy led 70-56 with 8:55 to play, but made only one of its next seven free throws as Penn (15-10, 4-5) rallied to within one point with 4:41 left.
The lead was only three points when Osborne stepped to the free throw line with 51 seconds to play. He made both, added a pair with 17.9 seconds left and sophomore Ben Struss made 3-of-4 free throws to ice the game.
Osborne, a senior guard, finished with 25 points. A 68 percent free throw shooter for the season, he made 5 of 7 against Penn, including his final four.
'I just take all of the distractions out of the way and focus in,” said Osborne, who did a similar feat earlier in the week to force overtime in a game against Clarke the Mustangs went on to win.
'He's just a gamer,” Mount Mercy Coach Paul Gavin said of Osborne. 'He just knows when to turn it on.”
Like in the first half, when Osborne tossed in all four of his 3-pointers in the first four minutes and ended the frame with 18 points. The Mustangs trailed 40-38.
'I score, pass, rebound, whatever they need me to do,” Osborne said.
Struss had 18 points, junior Kyle Lamaak 16 and senior Ian Matos had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Alec Schwab and Shane Bosek had 29 and 24 points, respectively, for Penn.
Mount Mercy made only 10 of its first 25 free throws before finishing 7 of 8.
'It's the reason (Penn) was able to stay in the game,” Gavin said. 'We're not a great free throw shooting team, but we're not bad. We're not bad like (10 of 25).”
The Mustangs have been living on the edge of late. They beat Grand View in double overtime, scored a one-point win over Ashford, then beat Clarke in overtime.
'We've played some close games lately that have come down to the wire and those kids are just playing their tails off,” Gavin said. 'Our guys have found a knack, when it gets tight, to make plays and turn it on.”