North Central Men Bottle Up Bluejays, Complete Sweep

More news about: North Central (Ill.)

Following a familiar path to victory, the North Central College men's basketball team put the clamps down on Elmhurst College's offense for a second straight meeting Saturday, dampening the Bluejays' Senior Day celebration with a 79-64 win at R.A. Faganel Hall.

The 18th-ranked Cardinals (18-6, 11-2 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin) limited the ninth-ranked hosts to 31.9 percent shooting (23 of 72) from the floor and put the game away with a 13-4 run late in the contest. Elmhurst managed only 34.8 percent accuracy from the field in a 80-62 setback at Gregory Arena Jan. 23.

The Bluejays (20-4, 10-3 CCIW) opened the game with great energy, scoring nine of the first 13 points, before a jumper and a three-pointer on consecutive possessions by Alex Sorenson sparked a 10-0 North Central run. Elmhurst countered and tied the score on three occasions, the last of which came at 20-20 with 8:01 on the clock. Both teams then hit a dry spell on offense for the next three minutes, as the Bluejays missed seven straight shots and North Central missed four of five.

The Cardinals pulled ahead on a fast-break layup by Erwin Henry and led by as many as seven points late in the opening half. Elmhurst cut the lead to three points before Kevin Honn scored just befoe the buzzer to provide North Central with a 33-28 halftime advantage. 

Though they never led, the Bluejays tied the score three times early in the second half, including a Brandon Schwebke three-pointer which knotted the score at 42-42 with 12:33 to play. From then on, North Central had a three-pointer to counter every threat. Sorenson hit from deep to give the Cardinals a 47-42 lead, Henry negated two straight Bluejay baskets with a triple with 10:17 to play, and another trio of triples, two from Jayme Moten and another from Henry, put the visitors in front, 61-50, with 4:56 left.

The Cardinals led by at least nine points the rest of the way, making 14 of 15 free throws in the final 2:04 to seal the win. Henry made 7 of 8 charity shots in the final stretch, while Moten made 4 of 4 and Honn connected on 3 of 3.

Henry led North Central in scoring for the second straight game, torching the Bluejays for 28 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the floor and 10 of 11 accuracy at the line. Moten finished with 17 points, while Soreson totaled 11 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.

Bryant Ackerman was the lone double-figure scorer for Elmhurst, finishing with 12 points.

The Cardinals close out the regular season Saturday, Feb. 20 at North Park University. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.