Tritons host Spartans

For the first time this season, the Iowa Central men’s and women’s basketball teams will host an ICCAC doubleheader here tonight.

The Tritons welcome Southwestern to Hodges Fieldhouse.

Tip for the women’s game is set for 5:30 p.m., followed by men’s action at around 7:30 p.m.

In their previous outing on Saturday, the Iowa Central men (11-8 overall, 1-2 in the league) earned a second straight win with a 78-69 home victory over non-conference foe Dakota County (Minn.). Dylan Travis (15.5) and Jesse Jones (14.1) are the main offensive weapons for the Tritons. Ky Kramer (9.6), Javonte Young (8.2) and Winston Yergler (8.0) round out the starting five. As a team, Iowa Central is averaging 69.7 points a night, while allowing just 53.3.

“We’re going to small up the floor (this evening) and try to be a little more uptempo on offense with a five-guard lineup,” ICCC head coach Dennis Pilcher said. “We have to do a decent job of getting into the paint, and we must knock down some outside shots. It’s going to be difficult to build a lead on (the Spartans).”

Mataika Koyamainavure (12.6) and Elliott Hamdeed (10.9) are the catalysts for Southwestern (7-9, 1-2), which has dropped three consecutive games. The Spartans suffered a 76-68 setback to then-No. 10 (NJCAA Div. II) Ellsworth on Saturday.

“Southwestern is a young team with (eight) freshmen,” said Pilcher. “They run a Princeton-style offense and are very patient. We need to look for backdoor cuts and can’t hesitate or turn our heads. Down at the other end, they switch a lot on defense, which makes it hard to speed up the game. We know it’s going to be another close one.”

Iowa Central and Southwestern each rolled past winless Clinton for their lone conference triumphs by scores of 81-73 and 56-40, respectively.

Last winter, the Tritons and Spartans played three overtime contests, with Iowa Central prevailing in two of those meetings.

On the women’s side, Craig Carlson’s No. 12 (NJCAA Div. II) Tritons (14-2, 3-1) have reeled off five wins in a row. Iowa Central upended Southeastern on the road by a 71-54 final Saturday afternoon. St. Edmond graduate and High Point University signee Lydia Harvey (17.2), Miliakere Koyamainavure (15.6), Katie Dentlinger (14.4) and Babaye Oja (11.9) spearhead the balanced attack for the Tritons, who are a perfect 8-0 at home this winter. Former St. Edmond prep Theresa Doyle (6.7) is the other regular in Iowa Central’s lineup.

Dentlinger has grabbed a team-high 129 rebounds, while Doyle has dished out 81 assists. Koyamainavure has added 37 steals. The Tritons rank fourth nationally in scoring, netting 87.9 points per game.

“We’ve got four kids right now (scoring) in double figures, which makes us kind of hard to guard, so hopefully that continues,” Carlson said. “We need to play hard for 40 minutes regardless of who we’re playing against.”

Morgan Knorr (13.7) and Darian Polson (10.9) are the focal points for the Spartans (3-12, 1-3), who have lost two straight and nine of their last 10 games. Southwestern’s only league victory came at Southeastern, 54-50.

“Southwestern is under a new coach (Addae Houston) this year, and I don’t know an awful lot about them other than a couple of films,” Carlson said. “I’m expecting us to see mostly zone (defenses) out of either a 3-2, 2-3 or three-quarter court trap.”

A year ago, Iowa Central trounced the Spartans by scores of 85-40 and 88-55.