GALESBURG — The Carl Sandburg College men’s basketball team used a late, tiebreaking push and held on to beat Illinois Valley 79-76 on Thursday night at John M. Lewis Gymnasium in the Chargers’ Arrowhead Conference home opener.
Sandburg (13-7, 2-0) held a double-digit lead in the second half but saw the Eagles (11-7, 1-1) use a 14-2 spurt to tie the game at 62 with 6 minutes to go. The Chargers, though, answered with 12 of the next 15 points, sparked by a Matt Wendling (Athens, Ill./Athens) 3-pointer off a feed from Tyler Houston (Knoxville, Ill./Knoxville).
IVCC pulled within 78-76 and had the ball in the closing seconds, but Ty Bland’s 3-point try was off the mark. Houston hauled in the rebound with :00.3 left and split a pair of free throws to seal the Chargers’ third straight victory.
Sandburg, which didn’t commit a turnover in taking a 39-34 lead into halftime, was led by Wendling’s 24 points and eight rebounds on 9-of-14 shooting. Houston drained three 3s and finished with 15 points, and sophomore guard Kourtlandt Martin (Evansville, Ind./Central) had 13 points, seven rebounds and a game-best six assists. Forward Deandrey Robinson (Peoria, Ill./Peoria) added nine points and eight rebounds for the Chargers.
“We weren’t at our best all night, but we came up big when we had to,” Sandburg coach Ryan Twaddle said. “We’ve played two three-point games in the conference so far and came out ahead in both. It’s been good to see us find ways to win in crunch time. Hopefully we can keep that up.”
The Eagles’ Keymonta Johnson scored a game-high 31, highlighted by a 5-for-8 night beyond the arc. Jalen Latham added 13 points for IVCC, which had an 11-point lead in the opening minutes.
The Chargers will look to stay unbeaten in the conference when they host rival Black Hawk at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the second half of a doubleheader. The women’s contest will tip off at 5:30 p.m.
GALESBURG — Illinois Valley used a surge to take a lead into halftime and another to pull away in the second half to defeat the Carl Sandburg College women’s basketball team 66-53 on Thursday night at John M. Lewis Gymnasium.
In a matchup of the reigning Arrowhead Conference co-champions, the Chargers (7-9, 1-1) had a 10-point lead in the first quarter and were up 22-15 in the second before going without a field goal in the final 8:05 of the half. IVCC (10-8, 1-1) went on a 19-3 burst during that stretch to lead 34-25 at the break.
The Chargers closed to 45-43 with 2:30 left in the third on a 3-pointer from Abby Masterson (Bradford, Ill./Stark County), but another cold spell followed while the Eagles used a 19-4 spurt to open up a 17-point advantage.
Sandburg finished the night 18 of 63 (29 percent) from the floor and 4 of 23 (17 percent) from 3-point range. Alivia Cummings (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) paced Sandburg with 11 points and three steals. Willow Porter (Wyoming, Ill./Stark County) added 10 points, and Madison Lowe (Dunlap, Ill./Dunlap) had a team-best seven rebounds for the Chargers.
Julia Pohar hit four 3s and scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Eagles.
Sandburg steps out a conference play to host Lincoln at 2 p.m. Saturday before facing Arrowhead rival Black Hawk at home at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the opening game of a men’s/women’s doubleheader. Tuesday’s game is also the Chargers’ Pink Night to raise money for cancer awareness.