Elgin, Illinois- Indiana University Kokomo men's basketball team opened their second season with a road victory over Judson University 70-63. The Cougars held off runs by the Eagles late in the second half to secure a victory in a tough atmosphere.
"This was a great team win, every person contributed up and down the bench and it showed in our balanced stat sheet. This game demonstrates the depth and IQ I have been talking about coming into this season. Everyone played their role leading to a tough win on the road," said Cougar head coach Jace Thompson. "Our point guard play was a huge concern going into the game with an inexperienced group of a redshirt freshman [Trent Murray] and two true freshman [Jerome Campbell and John Capps] but they handled the situation well and really where the reason why we were successful early in the game."
The Cougars started the game with two turnovers before drawing first blood with a basket by Jared Lawrence (New Castle/ Blue River Valley H.S.). With under 4 minutes to play Trent Murray (Crawfordsville/ Southmont H.S.) hit a 3 to make it 25-19 over the Eagles. A quick steal by Parker led to a basket down low by Jacob Faust (Galveston/Lewis Cass H.S. [Mount St. Joseph College]) to extend the lead to 8. Capps drove the baseline for a basket with less than two minutes left to push the lead to 10. A minute to go Judson scored on a lay in to pull back within 8. The Cougars held the ball for the last shot and went into the locker room with a 31-21 lead courtesy of a layup by Campbell.
The Cougars came out from the locker room and opened up the second half with a 3-point shot by Nathaniel Carroll (Daleville/Daleville H.S.). After a basket inside by Judson, Campbell added a baseline jumper to extend the lead 36-23. The Eagles went on a 7-0 run to make it 36-30 until Carroll answered with a three. Judson responded with a three of their own to get within 6.
With less than 10 minutes to play, Parker Salinas (Kokomo/Kokomo H.S.) hit a 3 to extend the Cougar led to 8. Richardson hit a 3-point basket that was quickly answered by Jason Roy from Judson to bring the Eagles within 8 points of the Cougars. With less than 4 minutes to play in the game, a three by Judson pulled them to within 5.
Lawrence drove the lane to put the Cougars up 64-57 with only three minutes left to play in regulation. The Eagles made one last attempt to keep the game close with a 3-point basket to bring them within 4, but that was as close as they would get. The Cougars closed out the game at the free throw line to seal the win 70-63.
Sophomore Jared Lawrence and freshman Jerome Campbell finished the game with 10 points each and junior Joby Renbarger (Greentown/ Eastern H.S [Ancilla C.C]) added 9 points and 6 rebounds for the Cougars. IU Kokomo shot 46% (21-45) from the field and 47% (10-21) from behind the arc, while holding the Eagle to 40% (26-65) from the floor.
The Cougars (1-0) travel to Hammond, Indiana for the Purdue University Calumet Tip-off Classic. Jace Thompson and his team play Friday (Nov. 3) at 7:30PM EST against the host team Purdue University Calumet. The Cougars then play Saturday (Nov. 4) against Indiana University Northwest at 6:00 PM EST.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.