CEDAR RAPIDS — When RoyShawn Webb committed to Iowa Central Community College two years ago, Mount Mercy men’s basketball coach Aaron Jennings told Webb he was sure he would see him in a couple of years.
After a pair of productive seasons at the two-year junior college, Jennings’ declaration held true as Webb joined the Mustangs for his junior season.
“Coach Jennings, he recruited me out of high school,” Webb said after scoring a game-high 22 points in Mount Mercy’s 80-65 victory over Grand View in a Heart of America Conference game Monday night at Hennessey Recreation Center. “Sure enough, after my season last year at Iowa Central, he reached out. He was like, ‘Come on a visit. Come see the campus. Come talk to me and the coaches.’ When I came here and I talked to him and I saw the campus, it felt like home.”
Mount Mercy (5-3, 2-2 Heart of America) trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, but faced with a 47-35 deficit and 18:51 to go, the Mustangs charged back. A 24-3 explosion over an eight-minute stretch gave Mount Mercy a nine-point lead that eventually ballooned to 20.
“We just came together,” Mount Mercy junior forward Dennis McKinney said. “We talked to each other about defense in the second half. We knew we had to stand up and make a stand because our defense has just been lackluster all year.”
McKinney is the one returner who started a significant number of games (30) for last year’s 16-15 Mount Mercy team. McKinney led the team with 18.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and was second with 36 steals.
The arrival of Webb reunites McKinney with his former high school teammate during the 2015-16 season at Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
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“It has been great,” McKinney said. ”I was trying to push for him to come here out of high school. He went down to Iowa Central, came back. Still tried to get him after two years. He came, made the right decision. We love him.”
With 16 points against Grand View, McKinney is now averaging a team-best 15.8 points per game.
“Physically, he is even bigger,” Jennings said of McKinney. “He is so strong. He has put in so much work, just like the year before. He wants it so bad, so we have to tell him sometimes to slow down and let the game come to him because he knows that he can do these things physically. We have got to slow him down and say, ‘OK, these shots are going to come. You are our leader and you are going to be our leader on the court, but you have got to slow down a little bit.’ When he does that, he is a handful.”
Webb is second on the team with 12.6 points per contest. Junior forward Davion Watson led the Mustangs with 12 rebounds and four assists against Grand View.
Former North Linn prep Ryan Miller scored 14 points, all in the first half, for Grand View (3-5, 1-3).
In the women's game, Mount Mercy fell to 2-5 this season after an 82-66 loss to Grand View.
The Mount Mercy men and women will each visit Clarke on Thursday.
AT HENNESSEY RECREATION CENTER
Mount Mercy 80, Grand View 65
GRAND VIEW (65): Dallas Meinders 2-5 1-1 6, Drew Johnson 4-9 0-0 12, Jay Chen 0-1 0-0 0, Eli Davy 1-4 2-3 4, Riley McCoy 0-3 0-0 0, Colton Kolowski 6-13 0-0 16, Ryan Miller 3-9 7-8 14, Landon Rash 3-10 0-0 7, Ernest Docker 1-4 1-2 3, Jack Trudo 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 21-64 11-14 65.
MOUNT MERCY (80): RoyShawn Webb 11-13 0-0 22, Tyler Kelley 3-4 4-4 11, Keishun Thomas 3-11 3-3 9, Dennis McKinney 7-16 0-2 16, Davion Watson 1-3 1-2 4, Christian Reischauer 4-8 0-0 10, Bailey Basala 3-7 0-0 8. Totals 32-62 8-11 80.
Halftime — Grand View 42, Mount Mercy 35. 3-point goals — Grand View 12-31 (Meinders 1-2, Johnson 4-7, Chen 0-1, Davy 0-1, McCoy 0-2, Kolowski 4-8, Miller 1-3, Rash 1-4, Docker 0-1, Trudo 1-2) Mount Mercy 8-25 (Kelley 1-2, Thomas 0-6, McKinney 2-5, Watson 1-2, Reischauer 2-5, Basala 2-5). Rebounds — Grand View 35 (Miller 7), Mount Mercy 40 (Watson 13). Steals — Grand View 5, Mount Mercy 9. Fouls — Grand View 13, Mount Mercy 13. Assists — Grand View 10 (Meinders 4), Mount Mercy 14 (Watson 4). Turnovers — Grand View 16, Mount Mercy 15. Fouled out — none.