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Men’s basketball overwhelms IU Southeast with balanced scoring

photo by Amanda Couser

photo by Amanda Couser

The Indiana Wesleyan University men’s basketball team spread the scoring around Friday, Nov. 14 in a dominant 107-68 win at Luckey Arena over visiting Indiana University Southeast.

Leading the way for IWU was forward Josh Mawhorr (jr) (17 points, 10 rebounds), Bob Peters (so) (16 points, six assists) and Jonny Marlin (jr) (13 points, eight assists).

But the key contributors for the Wildcats didn’t stop there.

Lane Mahurin (so) collected 13 points, Zac Vandewater (sr) added 11, Nathan Bubash (so) chipped in 10 and Jacob Johnson (fr) also had 10 to round out IWU’s double-digit scorers.

Although the final score was lopsided, the Wildcats didn’t secure the victory until late in the second half.

IWU led 44-28 at halftime, and IU Southeast closed the gap to 46-34 early in the second half. A 20-3 Wildcats run extended the lead to 66-37, but the Grenadiers didn’t stop fighting. They closed the gap to 79-59 with about 12 minutes to go in the game.

After that, it was all IWU. The Wildcats ended the game on a 28-9 run in which they imposed their will on the weary Grenadiers.

IWU Head Coach Greg Tonagel said the Wildcats played well, and was especially pleased with the balanced scoring.

“We have a lot of guys who can make a lot of different plays,” Tonagel said. “We just have to make sure we let them play their games sometimes and not over-coach them.”

The Wildcats will be back in action next Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Luckey Arena to face Judson University.

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Tedeschi’s Take: Referees

When’s the last time you’ve heard someone say, “The referees called a really fair game today?”

That’s what I thought. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anyone say that.

Referees. Blue. Ump. Zebras. Whatever nickname you use, you’re probably using it to complain.

When they make decisions that go against your team, they’re wrong even if the replay confirms their call. When they make a lot of calls, they are ruining the game by slowing it down.

Most sports fans, no matter the sport and no matter how successful their team is, think that the referees are against them. Many fans even have specific stories of how a referee’s mistake cost them a game or even a championship.

I’m guilty of referee bashing as well. Nearly every game I watch I find myself criticizing the referees at some point.

It’s the most thankless job in all of sports. Referees are dragged through the mud for bad calls and get little to no praise for making the right decisions.

But I think it’s time we give referees a break. They are people whose job is to make split second decisions that affect teams, fan bases and sometimes the entire country. And with instant replay, anyone and everyone in America can point out their mistakes. How would you perform under that pressure?

So often we make referees public enemy number one, but they’re really just professionals trying to do their job to the best of their ability. Are they going to make bad calls? Yes. Will the majority of their decisions be right? I think so.

So let’s try to be more gracious to referees. I know it’s easier said than done, but I’m going to make an effort to not criticize officiating and appreciate the good work referees do.

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Portera’s caring attitude aids volleyball team

It’s pretty easy to tell that Indiana Wesleyan University Volleyball Middle Blocker Kylie Portera (so) is a nursing major.

“I could tell within the first week [I met her] that she was a nurse,” Outside Hitter Sarah Collicott (so), one of Portera’s roommates, said. “Just through the way she treats people and cares for people, she’s really level-headed in a lot of situations.”

Kylie Portera (#7) brings her nurse's attitude to the volleyball team.

Kylie Portera (#7) brings her nurse’s attitude to the volleyball team.

“Kylie has a personality that is perfect for a nurse,” Head Coach Candace Moats said. “She sees peoples’ needs and she cares for them.”

Portera’s caring personality and hard work on the court have been instrumental in the volleyball team’s success this season. Through Nov. 12, she ranked fourth on the team with 238 kills. Now, the Wildcats are entering the final stretch of a very successful season in which they won the Crossroads League regular-season title for the third straight year.

But ironically enough, Moats and Portera actually formed their relationship in the midst of defeat.

“I was at a club tournament the summer after my junior year [of high school] and I was playing a game and I had heard from someone that there was going to be someone from IWU there,” Portera said. She added her team was not playing well that day.

“It was one of those games where, at the end, you talk as a team and then everyone just splits out and goes by their parents,” Portera said.

Moats didn’t care that Portera’s team was playing badly. She saw something special in Portera that she knew she liked.

Portera goes up for a block.

Portera goes up for a block.

“Kylie’s team was not doing well at the time, but I saw her constantly staying focused and talking to her teammates, telling them to keep their heads up,” Moats said. “Her coach was getting somewhat angry, and she was keeping her poise. And I just was so impressed with how she handled this whole disappointing experience. For her, it seemed like it was bigger than just the game.”

Moats approached Portera after the game. Portera was surprised that anyone would want to talk to a member of her team after its subpar performance.

“I just spoke truth to her and said, ‘I watched you and you inspired me,’” Moats recalled.

From that moment, Portera said she knew she had to look at IWU as a possible college to attend. One month later, she visited, and she was sold right away. She decided she would attend the university as a nursing major and play on the volleyball team the next fall.

Portera’s nursing mentality showed itself immediately to her teammates.

“I could tell that she really had a heart for God with everything, whether through her actions or words spoken,” said Defensive Specialist Sam Elkin (so), who now also rooms with Portera.

Portera didn’t play much her freshman year because the Wildcats already had All-American Middle Blocker Kristine Egebrecht (alumna ’14), but she’s had a breakout campaign this fall.

“[Kylie’s] gotten a lot more confident this year, and she’s taking a lot more responsibility as she finds herself as more of a contributor on the court,” Moats said.

But Portera hopes Wildcats fans will watch her team for more than just good volleyball – she wants them to see a glimpse of the love of Christ.

“Now I know I don’t [treat my teammates] perfectly,” Portera said. “But I hope when people watch our games, they see that the way we work together on the court is glorifying to God.”

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Marlin and Mawhorr talk transfer experience

The Indiana Wesleyan University men’s basketball team added two transfer players to their roster this season. Jonny Marlin (jr) transferred from Indiana University and Josh Mawhorr (jr) transferred from Saint Xavier University (Ill.). Sports Editor Tim Tedeschi sat down with Jonny and Josh to find out more about their transfer experiences.

Tim: How did you end up choosing to transfer to IWU?

Jonny Marlin (jr) transferred from IU to IWU for this season. (Photo courtesy of iwuhoops.net)

Jonny Marlin (jr) transferred from IU to IWU for this season. (Photo courtesy of iwuhoops.net)

Jonny: When I left from IPFW my freshman year, I had lunch with Coach Clark, one of the assistants, and so that’s kind of how I heard most of the stuff about the program. When I got down to IU I knew that I had a few friends here, one of them being Sarah Richert (alumnus ’14) who now has graduated. So once I was a little unhappy with the things down at IU, I thought about where I could play basketball at and Sarah kind of was the one who put that voice in my head and things just kind of worked out from there.

Josh: I was unhappy with my previous school just with some things there, and I’m originally from Muncie so I’m familiar with the area and was familiar with the program. So after I let my former coach know I was going to transfer, I reached out to the coaching staff here and they got back to me and we kind of worked things out there. And beforehand there was a lot of prayer involved, you know? Just trying to figure out what’s the next step and what do I want to do and, you know, just after I reached out they greeted me with open arms. And I’m fortunate enough that there was room for them to have me and here I am today. So definitely a blessing just to be a part of such a special program.

Tim: What drew you to IWU?

Josh: I’ve always heard great things about Coach Tonagel and the coaching staff in general. I personally hadn’t experienced that, but just I think the reputation of the program, you know, not only the success on the court but what they stand for off the court. And then once I was able to get here and finally experience it, it was great to see and a big positive.

Jonny: They [the coaching staff] weren’t allowed to talk to me until I officially left from IU. And so I kind of knew that I wanted to go here just based on my conversations that I had with Coach Clark earlier, like two years ago actually. I came up on a visit and they didn’t even know that I was here. So I just looked around campus and I thought this was a pretty good fit for me.

Tim: What was your biggest reason for transferring?

Jonny: I think I just wanted a different culture. IWU has a pretty good reputation of being a Christian campus that really lives out their beliefs, and that’s something that was pretty attractive to me. They’ve had a lot of success in basketball too so that helps.

Tim: Was the actual transfer process difficult to navigate?

Jonny: It wasn’t too bad. I had to get like five copies of my transcripts. That was probably the most annoying thing, but no there wasn’t anything too difficult I’d say.

Josh: Luckily for me it was pretty easy. I kind of looked and did some research beforehand, so I kind of had a familiarity. But there are some, I guess, rules that can be tricky to navigate if you don’t know about them. I think for me, thankfully it went pretty smoothly. I’ve heard of others, my friends have transferred in college athletics and it’s been a three month battle with getting released. And you know eligibility requirements and all that stuff but luckily for me it was pretty smooth.

Josh Mawhorr (jr) transferred from St. Xavier (Ill.) to IWU for this season. (Photo courtesy of iwuhoops.net)

Josh Mawhorr (jr) transferred from St. Xavier (Ill.) to IWU for this season. (Photo courtesy of iwuhoops.net)

Tim: What has been the most rewarding part of transferring here to IWU?

Josh: Honestly I think it’s the brotherhood we established. It started in June with summer workouts and then the mission trip and then all these events. And I’ve only been here probably six, seven months, but I feel like I’ve been here my whole career. I think that shows on the court obviously we have some talent, but it’s the brotherhood that unites us and it’s just one big great family.

Jonny: It’s an unbelievably fun team to play on. We have a lot of talent. I mean it’s fun just to play the game. You know when I was at IU I got minutes, but it wasn’t a whole lot. And so it’s fun to play the game that I’ve put a lot of time into. But at the same time it’s a pretty neat experience being around solid dudes that probably care about you more spiritually than what you do on the court.

Tim: What has the most challenging part been for you?

Jonny: There’s a lot of new terms as far as basketball goes. So as far as basketball is concerned, I would say knowing what their terminology is and getting adjusted to that.

Josh: There’s subtle differences, whether it’s academically or just getting used to a new coaching staff, new players, just subtle differences I think anyone would experience. But nothing that’s major or caused me a lot of stress or difficulty.

Tim: What are your goals for the season?

Jonny: First and foremost is to win a national championship. Individual stats, I think they come and individual accolades will come, but I think first you have to win as a team. So I’m not real concerned about what I do individually. Just whatever I have to do to make our team win.

Josh: I think as a team just to grow together each day, whether it’s practice or a game. And I mean what they accomplished last year I think that’s the goal this year: to get back to the national championship and bring home another ring. So there’s a lot of work to be done before that but in that process it’s just getting better each day and enjoying it.

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