IWU advances to NAIA semifinals with victory over Morningside

In the NAIA DII National Championship Quarterfinals on Saturday, the Wildcats advanced to their third consecutive national semifinals and their fourth in five years with an 86-68 victory over No. 2 Morningside.

The Wildcats opened the first half with eight straight points before ending the half on a 23-8 run to take a 43-26 lead into halftime.

IWU kept their pedal to the metal early in the second half, as a Johnson putback gave the Wildcats a 57-32 lead, their largest of the evening.

Morningside put together a furious rally, scoring 25 of the next 35 points to cut IWU’s lead to 10, but a Canaan Coffey three-pointer and a Johnson deuce put the game away for the Wildcats.

“We came out with a punch and fire,” Tonagel said afterwards. “The guys were together, and they looked like they were having so much fun.”

While the Wildcats’ offense was firing on all cylinders, their defense was also stout, holding Morningside to their second-lowest scoring output of the season.

“I thought Morningside was the best offensive team in the tournament but I knew they had some defensive weaknesses,” Tonagel said. “Our guys went at those today and we were successful because of it.”

After tying Mahurin’s record on Friday, Mangas broke it on Saturday. The freshman recorded a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds, and now has 775 points on the season. Maxwell led the Wildcats in scoring with 22 points.

Along with that, Mangas and Maxwell are the most prolific scoring duo in IWU history, as the two have scored 1,405 points this season, surpassing the 1,366 points scored by Mahurin and Bob Peters last season.

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