Ottumwa -- Indian Hills used a rally that spanned the final nine minutes of the first half to take a commanding lead and the Warriors, the 4th-rated team in the NJCAA DI poll, went on to knock off North Central Missouri, the No. 1 squad in Division II, 90-72, at the Hellyer Center Wednesday night. The defeat snapped NCMC's 18-game winning streak and handed the Pirates their first loss since Nov. 9.
Indian Hills, meanwhile, picked up its 25th win in the final non-conference regular season contest, with a pair of league games remaining the next two Saturday nights -- at home against Northeast (Neb.) and on the road at Marshalltown CC.
IHCC came out firing against North Central Missouri with back-to-back 3s by Chris Childs and Drake Jeffries and a dunk by Chris Payton leading to a quick 8-0 lead. The Pirates got untracked and tied the score at 11-all. There were four more ties after that, the last one at 25-25. Tyon Grant-Foster, one of six Warriors with 12 or more points, scored on consecutive possessions for a 25-23 advantage before North Central Missouri knotted the score for the final time.
From there, IHCC outscored the visitors, 24-6, the remainder of the period. The Warriors got contributions in that burst from all of their double-digit scorers. Calloo's late bucket established a 49-31 halftime lead.
The margin got below 18 only once in the second half as the Warriors kept the pressure on, limiting NCMC to 36.5 percent shooting. Indian Hills made 51.5 percent of its field goal attempts, almost 60 percent in the first half.
Payton and Grant-Foster each scored 17 points, Calloo and Childs 14, Malique Jacobs tallied 13 and six assists, and Drake Jeffries added 12 points on four threes. Jacobs hit a jumper to give IHCC a 21-15 lead to end a stretch where he scored seven of his team's eight points after the game was tied 13-13. Loseni Kamara scored only two points, but was credited with nine assists. Grant-Foster posted a double-double with 13 rebounds to go along with his 17 points. Payton also had double-digit rebounds with 10. Both players had three blocks.
Atavian Butler led the Pirates with 19 points and TJ Babikir had 16.
The win was the eighth this season for the Warriors against a Missouri school, two each vs. State Fair, Moberly and Missouri State-West Plains and one against Three Rivers and North Central Missouri. In coach Hank Plona's five years at IHCC his teams have gone 26-1 playing DI and DII teams from Missouri with the vast majority of the wins -- 22 -- against the five DI schools.
INDIAN HILLS 90, NORTH CENTRAL MISSOURI 72
INDIAN HILLS (25-3, 5-1)
Chris Payton 7 3-4 17, Maurice Calloo 6 1-1 14, Tyrese Nickelson 0 0-0 0, Loseni Kamara 1 0-0 2, Chris Childs 4 3-4 14, Malique Jacobs 6 1-1 13, Tyon Grant-Foster 7 2-5 17, Drake Jeffries 4 0-0 12, Theo Bourgeois 0 0-0 0, Samba Kane 0 1-4 1 Team 35 11-19 90
NORTH CENTRAL MISSOURI (22-2)
Marty Jackson 3 1-2 8, Atavian Butler 7 4-4 19, Quinan Reeves 4 1-2 10, Jeramy Shaw 1 0-0 2, TJ Babikir 6 2-2 16, Damien Loyd 0 0-0 0, Jackson Andrews 0 0-0 0, Rayonte Childs 3 0-1 7, Michael Horton 0 4-8 4, Demarius Houston 1 0-0 3, Jonathan Richmond 1 0-0 2, Darious Thomas 1 0-1 2 Team 27 12-20 72
Halftime score: Indian Hills 49, North Central Missouri 31; Three-point field goals: IHCC 9 (Jeffries 4, Childs 3, Calloo 1, Grant-Foster 1), NCMC 6 (Babikir 2, Jackson 1, Butler 1, Childs 1, Houston 1)