Indiana Tech came to the Schaefer Center on Monday night looking to pull an upset against the No. 2 team in the NAIA and pick up a sixth straight victory. Indiana Wesleyan's Kyle Mangas had other plans.
The 6-foot-4 Warsaw graduate poured in a game-high 35 points and added 10 rebounds, knocking down six of the Wildcats' season-high 16 3-pointers to lead the visitors to an 86-66 win.
“We knew it was going to be a tough one,” Mangas said. “(The Schaefer Center) is a very hard place to play. Indiana Tech is a very physical team, so we just came out tonight ready to go tonight, got out in transition, hit some big shots.”
Sophomore Josh Kline had 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting to lead the Warriors (8-8), while Mitch Morken chipped in a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The 3-point barrage began early for the Wildcats (12-3). The teams traded baskets until midway through the first half, when Wesleyan's Tanner Rubio made 3-pointers on four consecutive possessions, two of them from more than 27 feet away, to put his team ahead 29-22. Rubio scored 15 points.
After a timeout, Mangas drilled a 3 of his own. Overall, the Wildcats put together an 18-5 run with six 3-pointers to build a 35-22 lead.
“It's tough to guard,” Kline said of Wesleyan's long-distance shooting. “They've got guards running off down-screens at all times, always moving.”
The Wildcats continued to extend their lead in the second half, thanks in large part to Mangas. The junior scored 10 straight Wesleyan points during one stretch, including two 3-pointers and a nice tip-in over a couple of taller players.
“I've just been in the gym a lot over Christmas break,” said Mangas, the third-leading NAIA Division-II scorer in the country at 25.5 points per game. “Just trusting my shot and my teammates, their eyes are always up and finding me.”
The Warriors made a run with less than six minutes to play, scoring 10 straight to cut the deficit to 11. Cory McKinney, who finished with 17 points and six rebounds, drilled a leaning pull-up 3 to make it 73-62 with 4:39 to go. He pumped his fist as Wesleyan called timeout, but that was as close as Tech would get.
Out of the timeout, Rubio and Mangas hit 3s on back-to-back possessions and the Wildcats cruised the rest of the way.
The late run from Tech was not enough to redeem the team's effort in the eyes of coach Ted Albert.
“We turned it on for about two minutes there, but unfortunately there's 40 minutes in a game,” he said. “Ultimately, we just got out-executed and bullied tonight. That's really what it comes down to.
“They showed more fight than we did, better execution, better together, I mean you go down the list of things that are important to win a game and they were a step ahead of us.”
For Mangas, it was his fifth double-double of the season and the 12th 30-point performance of his career.
“He does a little bit of everything,” Albert said of Mangas. “He can post, he can drive. Obviously, he's a really efficient shooter. ... He's a competitor and that's ultimately what stands out the most. It's evident.”