OSKALOOSA, Iowa -- The NAIA Men's Basketball Game of the Week was just that, but only for a half as second-ranked William Penn turned a two-point halftime lead into a decisive 98-68 victory over seventh-ranked Mount Mercy on Saturday at Penn Gymnasium.
The Statesmen (26-1, 10-0 MCC) clinched the Midwest Collegiate Conference regular season title and top seed in the MCC Tournament. They're also likely to be the top-ranked team in the nation this week after current No. 1 Eastern Oregon fell to the College of Idaho.
The Mustangs (23-4, 8-2 MCC), who had won four straight since a 92-87 loss to William Penn on Jan. 19 in Cedar Rapids, failed to score 70 points for only the third time this season. They will still get the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament by winning one of their final two regular season games against Grand View or Viterbo (Wis.).
William Penn's lead grew to double digits just three minutes into the second period and continued to get larger from there. An 11-0 run over a three-minute stretch midway through the half essentially put the game away. A typically potent Mount Mercy offense went cold after the break. The Mustangs shot 26.2 percent from the floor, including a 1-of-14 effort from 3-point range.
Senior forward Chad Underwood and senior guard Lamar Wall were the lone Mustangs in double figures. Underwood scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds. Wall added 12 points. Senior forward Alex Coleman, junior guard Bobby Sherwood and senior forward Vladimir Vukovic chipped in nine points apiece. Senior guard Sid Beck tallied six boards, four assists and four steals.
Brandon Beasley led the Statesmen with 28 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and six steals. Keith Steffeck's double-double included 20 points and 11 boards. Kevin Fay scored 16 points and hauled down eight rebounds. James Devlin chipped in 12 points, Taylor Stoutner 10.
Mount Mercy hosts Grand View on Senior Night on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Hennessey Recreation Center. The Mustangs wrap up the regular season at Viterbo on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at R.W. Beggs Gymnasium in La Crosse, Wis. The MCC Tournament gets underway on Wednesday, Feb. 20.