WAYNE – Upper Iowa drained 11 of 16 shots from the 3-point line, including 6 of 7 after Wayne State took its only lead of the game, as the Peacocks handed the Wildcats an 84-76 home loss in Northern Sun Conference men’s basketball Saturday evening at Rice Auditorium in Wayne. WSC is now 11-11 and 6-8 in the league while UIU improves to 11-12 and 4-10 in the NSIC with the win.
Wayne State’s only leads of the first half were 7-4 following a Vance Janssen 3-pointer and 9-7 on a Kendall Jacks layup five minutes into the contest.
UIU then went on a 15-4 run and took a 22-13 lead and built their first double-digit lead of the night at 26-16 with 6:54 to play in the half.
The Peacocks increased the lead to 40-23 with 1:49 to play before halftime, but WSC closed the half strong and cut the margin to 10 at 41-31 on a JJ Zumbrennen trey with two seconds left before intermission.
WSC still trailed by double figures early in the second half, but the Wildcats made a run at the Peacocks to take their only lead of the second half at the midway point.
Wayne State’s first basket of the second half was an alley-oop dunk to junior Kendall Jacks, giving him 1,000 points for his career. The Bettendorf, Iowa native is now the 32nd player in school history to reach the milestone mark.
UIU took its biggest lead of the second half at 47-33 with 18:09 remaining. The Wildcats battled back and forced the game’s fifth and final tie at 54-54 on a Tony Bonner layup.
WSC took its only lead of the second half on the next possession with Jacks making a layup giving the ‘Cats a 56-54 lead.
But the Peacocks used the 3-ball to regain the lead for good as UIU sank 4 of 5 3-pointers and 6 of their next 7 to go in front by 11 at 75-64 with 3:26 to play.
WSC got as close as six at 78-72 with 46 seconds to play before Upper Iowa closed with the 84-76 win.
Jacks led WSC in scoring with 20 points and now has 1,011 in his Wildcat career. Vance Janssen added 17 points with Trevin Joseph accounting for 10.
The Wildcats ended the game making 26 of 64 shots for 40.6 percent, going 7 of 28 from the 3-point line and 17 of 18 at the free throw line.
Freshman Joe Smoldt poured in 21 points to lead Upper Iowa. Carson Parker and Jareese Williams both scored 18 points with Quentin Blaue adding 14.
UIU shot 53.8 percent for the game on 28 of 52 shooting. The Peacocks were a sizzling 68.8 percent from the 3-point line making 11 of 16 and connected on 17 of 21 free throws.
Both teams had 32 rebounds in the contest. Jordan Cornelius grabbed eight boards for the Wildcats followed by Austin Esters with seven.
The Wildcats will be at home again next weekend, hosting St. Cloud State Friday night at 8 p.m. and Minnesota Duluth Saturday for a 6 p.m. contest.