The Brescia University basketball teams split a doubleheader at home to IU Kokomo to close out the regular season. Though they had already clinched a spot in the conference tournament, their 75-68 win was key for gaining momentum. With the women’s 76-62 loss, the Lady Bearcats’ season comes to an end.
MEN’S: IU Kokomo 68, Brescia 75
In the final game of the regular season, the Brescia University men’s basketball team fought their way to a huge victory over IU Kokomo.
The Bearcats (15-13, 11-7) knocked off the top-ranked Cougars (23-6, 13-5) thanks in large part to a strong first-half showing from Jachon Bivens-Crowder. It was Bivens-Crowder’s third consecutive made jumper that pushed the Bearcat lead to 15, its largest of the game.
The second half of Saturday’s contest proved to be much tougher than the first, as the Cougars came all the way back to get within 2 points of the Bearcats on two separate occasions. However, senior guard Darion Morrow hit four 3-point baskets to put the game out of reach.
For Brescia, the win marked just their fourth in their last 10 tries. Though they have struggled more in the second half of the season, head coach Brian Skortz said the Bearcats will look to carry the momentum of a victory into their conference tournament matchup with No. 9 West Virginia Tech on Wednesday.
“It was a big win and I am so proud of our guys today,” Skortz said. “We fought over screens, rebounded well, got a big lead and managed to convert on some key plays down the stretch to get a win today. We switched up to our transition series on offense which gave Morrow some open looks off a few really strong passes out of the post by (Kayode) Daboiku.”
The Bearcats managed to squeak into the conference tournament as the No. 4 seed in the West Division. That means they will be going on the road to play against the No. 1 seed in the East Division. WVU Tech is ranked ninth nationally but did lose by 4 points at Brescia on Jan. 5.
“This year, we were 11-7 in conference play and yet we wound up as the fourth seed in a tough West Division of the River States Conference,” Skortz said. “We will need to win three games in a row against tough opposition to make it into the national tournament, but we’ve been there before and managed to knock off West Virginia Tech. They play a similar style to IU Kokomo and we think we can give them a good game.”
IU Kokomo: Desean Hampton 22, Trequan Spivey 14, Antoin Clifton 11, Akil McClain 6, Billie Webster 6, Bryce Hudson 4, Darian Porch 3, Antoyne Jackson 2.
Brescia: Darion Morrow 21, Kayode Daboiku 18, Dillon Geralds 14, Damontae Barnhill 8, Jachon Bivens-Crowder 7, Zach McDaniel 4, Tristen Murray 3
WOMEN: IU Kokomo 76, Brescia 62
For a little over three quarters, the Brescia women’s basketball team put up a strong fight Saturday, eventually relenting to IU Kokomo in a 76-62 loss.
Though the final score showed the Lady Bearcats (10-19, 7-10) losing by 14 points to the visiting Lady Cougars, the game was a much tighter contest throughout.
After leading for the entirety of the first half, Brescia fell behind in the third quarter. Trading buckets for much of the third start of the fourth periods, the Lady Bearcats were down 54-52 with just over five minutes to go in the game. Over the next three minutes, IU Kokomo used a 19-0 scoring run to put the contest out of reach.
Brescia head coach Mike Gray said after the game that he was disappointed with the drop in intensity from the first three quarters.
“We just didn’t really come out with a whole lot of energy in the game today,” Gray said. “We didn’t stick to our game plan. We only lost by 10 the first time we play IU Kokomo, but the adrenaline and emotions of senior night must have worn off after the third quarter. That’s the cause of a long season. The girls gave everything they had today, it just wasn’t enough.”
The Brescia women’s basketball program will graduate three seniors this May in Jaycie Luna, Catherine Dunn and Aaliyah Rogers. Gray labeled the trio as the team’s ‘core players’ over the last few years.
“Each of my seniors I love to death,” Gray said. “Rogers had two significant injuries in her career and she still came back and played hard. Luna is a great shooter and an even better scholar. Dunn worked hard for four years and led us in so many ways this year.
“At the end of the day, all three of these girls are tremendous basketball players, but even better people. They will each graduate in May with a degree, which makes me feel like I’ve won a championship here at Brescia University.”
IU Kokomo Scoring: Kambrey Jolley 12, Tia Chambers 10, Allison Davis 10, Vanessa Mullins 9, Kaitlyn Howe 8, Quaynika Merriweather 7, Braxtyn Hurley 5, Karson Williams 5, Brynda Krueger 4, Lauren Godwin 4, Abby Scott 2.
Brescia Scoring: Cassidy Moss 21, Aaliyah Rogers 19, Jaycie Lune 9, Catherine Dunn 5, Hallie Fisher 4, Alicia Salazar 2, Hailey Kendall 2.