Iowa Wesleyan scored the first and final points of tonight's USCAA Division I National Quarterfinal contest with Berea College. In between, it was all Mountaineers - to the extent that Dan Patrick's trademark, "simply en fuego" was apt.
The Tigers scored a three on their opening position, then the senior duo of Aaron Ponder and Tevin Webster went on their own scoring run putting up the next nine points between them. Richard Parker and Daishon Robinson added a bucket each and in what seemed like an instant the Mountaineer lead was 10.
Things for the Tigers went from bad to worse as the top scoring team in the USCAA's Division I found its mark from long range. First it was Anthony Myrks, then Parker, then Robinson; mixed with a dunk from Webster and layup from London Moore and the BC lead grew to 18.
BC wasn't just doing it on the offensive end, their defense was stifling and forced the Tigers into 11 first half turnovers and as they grabbed five steals. BC was able to convert those turnovers into easy points. The halftime buzzer couldn't come fast enough for Iowa Wesleyan as they faced a 50-23 deficit heading to the locker room.
The second half would bring only more BC offense as the Parker and Ponder nailed five 3-pointers sandwiched around four made free throws to push the lead out to 32 points. A Ethan Harris jumper with 6:50 remaining pushed the lead to its highest point of 34 points; at which time the Mountaineers eased off the gas and coasted the rest of the way home to their 20th win of the season and a date in the Final Four.
Sophomore, guard and First Team All-American, Parker showcased his skill tonight as he scored 19 points, including 4-9 from long distance and grabbed five rebounds. Seniors Ponder and Webster each netted 15 points; Ponder on 6-7 (including 3-4 from beyond the arc) shooting while Webster was a stellar 7-8 from the free throw line and led the Mountaineers in rebounding with eight. Myrks was the final Mountaineer to reach double figures with 11 points.
With the win, Berea moves on to the Final Four and will face the third seeded Warriors of Rochester College (MI) who dispatched St. Joseph's Brooklyn 82-75 earlier in the day. The game is set for 10:00 pm on Thursday, March 5 in the Main Arena on the campus of Penn State-Fayette.