Owls snag first conference win

For The Tribune

Coach Kyle Clough said his Seymour Owls had a determined look on their faces when they left the locker room prior to the tip for their game against Madison.

The Owls carried that drive to the hardwood and rolled to a 62-41 Hoosier Hills Conference win in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium on Thursday.

“Our kids did a great job,” Clough said. “Maybe for the first time all year we had every single person committed wholeheartedly to just winning. We talked about that all week with this group about putting yourself into the win and really selling out to get the win.

“These guys have come a long way. They played very well tonight. I thought we played a complete game. We were better offensively, obviously, but I still think to hold them to 41 points was a pretty big testament to our kids.”

Madison held an 8-5 lead before Toriek Miller tied the game with a 3-pointer at 4:10 of the first period, then followed with a layup. Ryan Wieneke added a free throw and Tyler Bloom hit a 3-pointer from the right wing for a 7-0 run that put the Owls on top for good.

Bloom made another three in the closing seconds for a 19-13 lead.

Tiller Cummings warmed up offensively in the second period with a pair of baskets and two free throws, Miller added a 3-pointer and Bloom made his third long shot at the buzzer to give the Owls a 35-23 lead at the half.

The Cubs played a zone throughout the first half, and the Owls shot 12-for-25 from the floor during that time.

“We knew they were going to play a bunch of different defenses tonight,” Clough said. “That’s just their identity, so were asking our kids to be conscience of things they were going to do, take care of the basketball, and we felt like if we played unselfishly and got some good movement we would be able to get some easy looks.

“You get a guy like TB (Bloom) stepping in there and making a couple shots it helps stretch the floor. Tiller Cummings was a great finisher around the rim tonight.

“We had a few guys that haven’t performed at a high level come out and tonight and play well for us, but more than anything I think it was just a bunch of guys committed, believing they were going to win this game.”

Cummings added three goals in the third period, and his layup with 1:10 on the clock put the Owls up 48-26 before the Cubs closed on a 7-0 run and Brayden Perry’s 3-point buzzer-beater left the score 48-33 heading into the fourth quarter.

“The biggest moment of the game, at the end of the third quarter they went on a 7-0 run and it went from 22 to 15, and for a team that has lost six games by six points or less like us that’s a nervous situation,” Clough said. “I went into the huddle not sure what to expect, but they were talking to each other and reassuring each other they were going to get it done. We came back out and ended up pulling away.”

The Owls opened the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run to improve to 1-6 in the HHC and 5-11 on the season.

Cummings made eight baskets and 4-for-4 free throws for a career high 20 points. Miller added 16 and Perry netted 11.

Cummings and Wieneke had seven rebounds each as the Owls held a 28-20 margin on the boards.

“I’m just proud of this group,” Clough said. “They’ve been through a lot of tough losses this year. At any point in that game tonight they could maybe have let that thing get a little closer, but I’m proud of the effort, and it was a nice win for our guys.”

Adida Ikongshul, a Western Michigan University signee, topped the Cubs (7-8, 1-5 HHC) with 12 points.

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.