INDIANA, Pa. — In a matchup that pitted the second-best defense in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference against the conference’s top scoring offense, it was defense that won out as No. 10 Indiana (Pa.) defeated Edinboro 59-51 on Wednesday night. The Crimson Hawks have now won six consecutive games to move to 13-2 (10-1 PSAC) this season.
While the IUP defense was in the spotlight all evening long, it was the offense that came out sharp Wednesday, with the Crimson Hawks jumping out to a commanding 15-5 lead thanks to a balanced scoring attack.
The IUP lead would reach as much as 17 with 7:13 to play in the first half when Ashton Smith found Josh Wiegand for a bucket in the paint.
With the Crimson Hawks in control and the high-powered Edinboro offense yet to establish a rhythm, the Fighting Scots looked to attack rim to stifle the IUP run.
|TOP 25 SCORES|
|No. 5 Tarleton St. 73, TA&M Commerce 69|
|No. 6 Lincoln (Mo.) 84, Brevard 43|
|No. 10 IUP 59, Edinboro 51|
|No. 13 Midwestern St. 82, Cameron 80|
|No. 16 Missouri Southern 84, NW Missouri 76|
|UNC-Pembroke 78, No. 19 USC-Aiken 69|
|No. 25 Ft. Hays St. 72, Emporia St. 67|
Clint Nicholson got to the foul line for a pair of free throws and converted, while Jay Fletcher and Bobby Davis both scored to trim the IUP lead to just 11 at 29-18.
Smith would respond for the Crimson Hawks with two free throws and a jumper to push the lead back up to 15 late in the first half, but back-to-back layups by Bryan Theriot would shrink the lead back down to 11 and give the Fighting Scots momentum heading into the break.
Edinboro would ride that momentum early in the second half, going on a 9-4 run highlighted by a pair of threes from Fletcher and Nicholson.
With the IUP offense struggling and without a basket over the last 6:30 of game time, it was the senior leaders who came up large as they have done all season long for the Crimson Hawks.
Smith nailed a jumper to halt the Edinboro run, and Sanders followed with a conventional three-point play to give IUP a 42-31 lead with 15:55 to play in the game, however the Fighting Scots would answer.
Fletcher and Sam Moore would lead an 8-2 charge over the next five minutes to pull Edinboro to within four but the Fighting Scots would not get any closer.
Danny Ayebo sank two free throws to stop the run, and Marcel Souberbielle drilled a jumper just moments later to put the Crimson Hawks back in control.
Fletcher and Nicholson would both connect from deep to keep Edinboro in the game late in the second half, but Sanders and Smith nailed free throws in the final minute of the game to seal the win for the Crimson Hawks.
Sanders led the way with 20 points and eight rebounds for IUP, while Smith added 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Ayebo finished with six points and seven boards, while Anthony Wells tallied nine rebounds and four assists.
Fletcher finished with 20 points, seven boards and three assists to lead Edinboro, while Nicholson chipped in 13 points and six rebounds. Theriot finished with six points and 10 boards.
The IUP defense was outstanding Wednesday night, limiting the top offense in the PSAC to just 33 percent shooting from the field and a season-low 51 points.