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Eagles 'Blue Out' Panthers

By Keith Norem
On February 9, 2016

Cristen Wilson, sophomore, drives for two of his 19 points to pace the Eagles. Photo By Keith Norem 

 The Kirkwood men’s basketball team, currently ranked number nine in the nation, throttled Ellsworth CC 86-61 in an electric match in Johnson Hall on Jan. 27.  

It was a Blue Out night, where Kirkwood students were given blue shirts to wear to support their home team, a challenge to which the student body eagerly rose. As a result, the “Eagles Nest” was a sea of blue, creating a raucous environment that seemed to fuel the men towards victory. 

Head Coach Bryan Petersen commented on the state of men’s basketball, saying, “Even with three wins, we still have a long way to go.” 

Petersen continued, “Tonight, I don’t think we played extremely well but I think our guys have learned [from its loss against Southwestern earlier in the season] and have bounced back at the same time. You have to do that in conference play.           

 “Obviously, we were frustrated by that loss down there at Southwestern,” Petersen added. “We’ve still got a long way to go and the guys have done a good job of getting things back together.”

Many of the players agreed with Petersen.  “Our defense was really strong tonight,” said sophomore guard Hunter Rhodes. “We knew they had that No. 1 [Iowa City West graduate Myzeah Batie-Gaddy], and he’s a really good player.” 

Adds Rhodes: “We thought if we could limit [Batie-Gaddy], we could really hold down the rest of their players. He scored a lot [a game-high 26 points], but he needed a lot of shots to get there.”

The Eagles were led during the game by Cristen Wilson, who came off the bench to lead the offense with 19 points in 23 minutes. He also grabbed seven rebounds. Rhodes added 16 points and Josh Bartlett scored 11 in just 15 minutes.  Other key contributions came from Nick Richards, Da’Rion King, Al’Tavius Jackson and Kaliph Fagan, who all chipped in six points each. 

The Eagles’ upcoming schedule includes three conference games against North Iowa CC, Iowa Lakes CC, its main rival, Des Moines Area CC and all before a huge home match-up with Southwestern CC that could determine the outright winner of the conference and top seed in the conference tournament.  Kirkwood’s match-up against Southwestern CC is in Johnson Hall on Feb. 13, starting at 3 p.m.

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