College Mens Basketball

L.J. Stansbury comes all the way from Delaware to help Kirkwood to upset of 2nd-ranked team

Double-double of 22 points, 10 rebounds as Eagles hand Lincoln 1st loss

CEDAR RAPIDS — Recruiting is all about relationships, connections and a little bit of good luck.

Kirkwood Community College enticed Nick Richards to come all the way here from Delaware, of all places, a couple of years ago. Richards helped the Eagles win the NJCAA Division II national championship in 2016.

He has moved on to Division II Wilmington University back home but still is paying dividends for his old school. Richards put more than a few good words in with former high school teammate L.J. Stansbury to convince him to also come to Kirkwood.

The freshman guard-forward’s double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds helped the Eagles to a 71-55 win Wednesday night at Johnson Hall over second-ranked Lincoln College of Illinois.

“I just felt the most comfortable here, surprisingly,” Stansbury said. “I really liked the coaching staff. The coaches, the facilities, I just fell in love with it. They’re a winning program, and I could tell I could fit in here. It’s working out.”

It really worked out Wednesday night, as Stansbury came off the bench to make 6 of 7 shots from the field and all seven of his free throws. He also had 10 boards (all in the first half) as Kirkwood (10-4) led basically from beginning to end.

At 6-foot-4, Stansbury can play multiple positions, comfortable on the outside or inside. He came in averaging just 5.5 points per game, so this was a career night at a great time.

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“He was huge for us,” said Kirkwood Coach Bryan Petersen. “He was able to come off the bench and score and rebound and make some plays. That’s the player we feel L.J. can be. He had kind of an up-and-down first semester. For him to do that off the bench was huge for us.”

Lincoln (12-1) won the first game between these teams back in mid-November by nine points, but the Lynx came nowhere near their average point total of 82 here. Petersen loved his team’s defensive effort, which helped it go on a decisive 11-0 run after Lincoln had tied the game early in the second half, 33-33.

“That’s probably the best we’ve played all year for 40 minutes,” Petersen said. “That’s what was so nice to see. We kind of grew up tonight and really got better. Obviously we still had our moments here and there, with 20 turnovers and everything. But, other than that, we did a nice job.”

Former Des Moines preps Chris King, Douglas Wilson and Carlo Marble also had pivotal roles, scoring 14, 11 and 11 points, respectively. Marble is the son of the late former Iowa Hawkeye great Roy Marble.

Kirkwood plays Saturday at seventh-ranked Iowa Central.

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AT JOHNSON HALL

LINCOLN (55): Roland Austin 3-6 0-0 7, Richard Simpkins 3-6 0-0 7, Edwin Rivera 1-4 0-0 3, Trayvon Tyler 7-17 4-11 20, Louis Griffith 2-9 0-0 5, Tramon Jackson 0-0 0-0 0, Isaiah Nelson 1-6 2-2 4, Desmian Devane 0-0 0-0 0, Montez Crumble 0-0 0-0 0, Marshaud Watkins 1-3 0-0 3, Antonio Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Tyrone Wright 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 21-56 6-15 55.

KIRKWOOD (71): Kyle Arrington 0-1 4-6 4, Doug Wilson 5-6 1-7 11, Chris King 6-13 1-2 14, Ethan Meeker 1-7 0-0 2, Bailey Kale 1-6 0-0 3, L.J. Stansbury 6-7 7-7 21, Jay Small 1-1 0-0 3, Tajen Ross 1-4 0-0 2, Carlo Marble 4-8 0-0 11, Justin Storey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-53 13-22 71.

Halftime — Kirkwood 32, Lincoln 26. 3-point goals — Lincoln 7-26 (Griffith 1-4, Tyler 2-6, Rivera 1-3, Simpkins 1-3, Austin 1-3, Nelson 1-6, Watkins 1-3), Kirkwood 8-26 (Kale 1-5, Meeker 0-5, Stansbury 2-3, Small 1-1, Ross 0-2, Marble 3-5). Rebounds — Lincoln 26 (Austin 7), Kirkwood 37 (Stansbury 10, Wilson 9). Total fouls — Lincoln 23, Kirkwood 15. Fouled out — None. Assists — Lincoln 7 (Tyler 3), Kirkwood 11 (King, Ross 3). Turnovers — Lincoln 20, Kirkwood 20.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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