NEW ALBANY —
It’s not baseball season yet but there was already a doubleheader sweep by Indiana University Southeast Tuesday night in New Albany. The Grenadiers womens’ and mens’ teams defeated Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference foe Berea in another entertaining night of basketball at the Southeast Activities Building.
The Grenadier women won 66-54 in the opener and the men smoked the Mountainers 105-76 in the nightcap. Heather Wheat pumped in 32 points, including six 3-pointers to power the women to their fourth win in their last six games.
Kevin Mitchell poured in 36 including seven triples to lead the 11th-ranked men (NAIA Division II) to their 12th straight win.
IUS MEN TOP 100 AGAIN
The marquee contest featured the last two undefeated teams in KIAC play, but IU Southeast (18-3, 8-0) dominated from the opening tip. The hosts jumped out of the gates fast once again as Jake Simpson second 3-pointer gave the Grenadiers a 15-3 lead at the 15:01 mark of the first half.
Mitchell, who scored 24 of his game high 36 in the first half, nailed his fourth straight bomb to give IU Southeast a 37-19 edge with 7:57 left till intermission.
IU Southeast, which is the fourth-highest scoring team in NAIA Division II at 89 points per game, hit 10 of 16 triples in the first half and went to the locker room up 20 on a Berea (13-8, 5-1) team that had won six straight going into Tuesday night.
“Our ball movement and spacing were good tonight,” said Grenadier head coach Wiley Brown, whose team hit the century mark for the fourth time this season — all in the last 31 days. “That’s what we preach. We have great shooters and we practice a lot on shooting. Tonight we were on.”
The Grenadiers, who placed five players in double-figures and never trailed, went on to sink seven more 3-point bombs in the second half. The blowout victory marked the eighth time in their last nine games that the Grenadiers have scored 95 or more.
“My speech at halftime was, there was no way we could come out in the second half and shoot it like that again, but we did,” Brown said. “We had a great night shooting.”
IU Southeast is now alone in first place atop the KIAC with a perfect 8-0 concerence record. Mitchell’s season high 36 came on 12-of-21 shooting. The junior guard added four assists and had just three turnovers while doing the bulk of the ball handling duties in 36 minutes of action.
“Kevin played like I’ve been trying to get him to play since he got here,” Brown said. “I’m hoping he doesn’t turn back because the kid has a special talent. He really does. He can really shoot the ball, but he just hasn’t showed that yet because he’s been so focused on getting everyone else involved. I told him I like guards who can score and now he’s getting around to doing that. And he’s not being selfish at all. He’s just getting open looks in the flow of the game.”
WHEAT POWERS GAME-WINNING RUN
The Grenadiers (11-9, 4-5) held a slim 29-25 halftime lead and went on to grab control of the game with a 13-4 run to open the second half. Wheat powered the spurt with three straight triples as the home team led 42-29 with 12:52 left.
“She played a great ball game,” IU Southeast head coach Robin Farris said his sophomore guard, who leads the Grenadiers in scoring with 20 points per game. “Shooting really isn’t her strength. Penetrating and defense are her stretnghs, but when she hits 3s like that, she’s a darn good player. She had the hot hand tonight and was feeling it.”
Ashmere Woods scored 14 and hit 8-of-8 at the foul line to supplement Wheat’s standout performance. IU Southeast held Berea (6-14, 2-5) to 36 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers en route to their 11th win of the season.
“I thought we were talking well on defense today,” Farris said. “We switched where we needed to switch. Our communication was good and we were more alert to their cuts and screens.”