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NIACC/Kirkwood men’s preview

niacc_trojans_logoCEDAR RAPIDS – The last time the NIACC men’s basketball team won 20 games in a season Bryan Martin was in his second of three seasons as coach.

The Trojans were 23-9 in the 2006-07 season.

NIACC can reach the 20-victory mark with a victory over Kirkwood Wednesday in the opening round of the Region XI tournament. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.

NIACC, the tournament’s seventh seed, enters Wednesday’s tournament opener with an overall mark of 19-11. The Trojans were 6-8 in the ICCAC. Second-seeded Kirkwood is 18-12, 9-5.

“I felt we had an excellent regular season,” said fifth-year NIACC coach Mark Mohl, whose previous best season was in 2009-10 when the Trojans were 18-13. “Nineteen wins is as many as NIACC has had in awhile and considering our schedule, we are very happy with 19 wins.

“We also felt, though, that we have lost a few games we could have won. The conference was hard fought all year and it came down to winning close games, staying healthy at the right times.”

NIACC splits the two regular season games with second-seeded Kirkwood with each team winning on its home floor. Kirkwood topped NIACC 68-61 in the conference opener at Cedar Rapids in December and NIACC evened the season series with a 85-80 win in February.

“Kirkwood has long been the power in our league,” Mohl said. “They are a tough, well-coached, physical team. A big key for us, as always, will be points in the paint. We have to keep them out of the lane on penetration and we cannot allow second chance points if we expect to get the job done.”

The winner of Wednesday’s game faces No. 3 Ellsworth (16-12, 8-6) or No. 6 DMACC (17-13, 6-8) on Friday.

If Kirkwood wins Wednesday, Friday’s game is at Kirkwood. If NIACC wins, the game would be at Ellsworth or DMACC.

Kasey Semlar averages 11.6 points per game to lead the Eagles, who have four players averaging in double figures. Deven Douglas is next in line for the Eagles at 10.9 points per game.

Freshman David Humphries averages 20.5 points per game to lead NIACC. The Trojans also received 18.4 points per game from Chris Davis. Mike Wagner averages 9.9 points per game, Matthew Don averages 9.5 and Sam Skogen averages 9.2.

“We have a terrific group of young men and hopefully we will be up for the challenge,” Mohl said.

NOTE – Davis enters Wednesday’s game with 980 career points, which ranks 11th on NIACC’s all-time career scoring list. The last NIACC player to score 1,000 points was Clyde McCully (1998-2000), who scored 1,033 points, which ranks seventh all-time.


No. 8 Clinton (8-19, 2-12) at No. 1 Iowa Lakes (23-6, 11-3)

No. 5 Iowa Central (17-13, 7-7) at No. 4 Southwestern (15-14, 7-7)

No. 6 DMACC (17-13, 6-8) at No. 3 Ellsworth (16-12, 8-6)

No. 7 NIACC (19-11, 6-8) at No. 2 Kirkwood (18-12, 9-5)

Note: The semifinals and finals will be Friday and Sunday, respectively, hosted by the higher seed.

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