CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Only two days after a disappointing performance at 17th-ranked Benedictine (Kan.), the Mount Mercy men's basketball team rebounded in a big way, knocking off Graceland, 83-72, in a Heart of America Athletic Conference road game on Monday night in Lamoni.
The Mustangs, who were held to a season-low 57 points by the Ravens on Saturday, surged ahead of the Yellowjackets with an 8-0 run midway through the first half. Mount Mercy never relinquished its lead. After Graceland got within three, 56-53, with 7:07 remaining in the second period, the Mustangs answered with buckets by CJ Parker and Antwain Strong to diffuse the Yellowjacket threat.
Despite shooting 4-of-21 from three-point range, Mount Mercy shot 45.2 percent from the floor overall while going 23-of-29 at the free throw line. The Mustangs out-rebounded Graceland, 48-37, and racked up 19 assists on 28 made field goals. That's the second-highest assist total of the season coming one game after a season-low five assists against Benedictine.
Strong and Josh Williams each scored 18 points off the bench for Mount Mercy (8-6, 7-4 Heart). Ben Struss joined them in double figures with 15 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds and four assists. Parker grabbed eight boards, Williams seven. Strong dished out five assists and Williams finished with three blocked shots.
Carl Martin had game-highs of 22 points and seven steals to lead the Yellowjackets (10-5, 7-4 Heart), a team receiving votes in the most recent NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Coaches' Poll. LT Davis chipped in 15 points, Jordan Dembley 11. Jeremy Deemer pulled down eight rebounds and Will Nelson had a pair of assists.
The Mustangs host Grand View on Throwback Night on Thursday. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at Hennessey Recreation Center.