OTTUMWA — After three convincing wins last week, the Indian Hills men's basketball team climbed three spots in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) DI national rankings, returning to the top 10 for the third time this season. The 8-2 Warriors moved from No. 11 last week to No. 8 this week, remaining the highest ranked DI team in the state of Iowa.
After slipping out of the top 10 following a loss at home to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M to close out the Bowling RV Classic on Nov. 20, Indian Hills responded in a dominant way this past week with three victories in the state of Illinois. The Warriors scored its biggest win of the season with a 76-74 victory over second-ranked John A. Logan College at the Lake Land Classic on J'Vonne Hadley's game-winning bucket in the closing seconds.
Indian Hills followed up Tuesday's signature victory with a win over tradition-rich Vincennes University, dropping the Trailblazers 68-40. Sophomore Taj Anderson erupted for 31 points, including nine three-point shots in the second half.
The Warriors closed out the week on Saturday with a 68-54 win at Sauk Valley Community College. Indian Hills built a big lead early on in the first half, leading by as many as 18 on the strength of Anderson who connected on four made 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes, highlighting a 14-point opening half for the second-year IHCC guard.
Indian Hills led 37-20 at halftime, but a 12-0 run from the Skyhawks midway through the second half cut IHCC's lead to 49-43. With the Warriors looking for an answer, sophomore Braxton Bayless drove the lane and converted a bucket to stop the spurt and freshman Eddiean Tirado followed up with a three-point shot to push the lead back to double-digits.
Indian Hills held on the rest of the way for its first true road win of the season. Bayless added 13 points for the Warriors, including 11 in the second half while Tirdao finished with four three-point shots for 12 points.
The loss on Tuesday to IHCC dropped John A. Logan down to No. 5 in the NJCAA DI rankings. Southeastern Community College, the second Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) member in the national rankings, checks in this week at No. 17.
The Warriors return home to take on Highland Community College on Saturday night at the Hellyer Student Life Center. Action tips off at 7 p.m.