MT. PLEASANT — Stopping Monmouth College star Will Carius was a big part of Iowa Wesleyan’s gameplan coming into Tuesday night’s home opener, but the Tigers couldn’t slow down the 6’7 forward.
Carius scored a game-high 31 points for the Scots, pacing Monmouth in a 90-71 win.
“The biggest thing was, they ran their offense and they got the ball to their best player,” said Tiger head coach Alex Huisman. “They got him the ball where they wanted to, and if he gets in hose spots, it’s too late.”
After three early points by Carius, the Tigers punched back with a 9-0 run early in the first quarter. Jake Neubauer hit back-to-back threes and Caleb Cresswell added a three-pointer of his own to give IW an early 9-3 lead.
After Monmouth took back the lead on an 8-0 lead of their own, Alberto Torres drained a three-pointer to help IW go up 12-11. Unfortunately for the home fans, that was the last lead the Tigers would have all night.
Monmouth won the first half 50-35. The Scots went 11-16 from the free throw line in the first 20 minutes, compared to just two attempts for IW.
The Scots were able to stretch the lead to 20 points five minutes into the second half. IW cut the lead below 20 after an eight-point stretch from Cresswell shortly after that, but the defense couldn’t come up with enough stops to ever get it back down to 15.
“We knew that (Carius) was their best player,” Coach Huisman said. “We knew we wanted to double team him ... and we didn’t do that. And then offensively, just not executing. Taking bad shots, not doing the things that we work on in practice.”
Cresswell finished the night with 16 points to lead the Tiers. He went 6-11 form the field including 4-9 from three point land. Neubauer scored 14 points. Torres had 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Marin Saintolien had eight points in the loss. Jarryd Fernandes, Alex Dentlinger and Jett Tjaden each scored six points. David Seber scored three. Robert Heise had two.
The Tigers are now 2-3 overall heading into their first conference game. They’ll host Principia COllege on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The women’s game against Principia will tip off at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men at 7:30 p.m.