In each quarter, Morris was simply a little better than Yorkville: executing the offense, playing tighter defense and moving with a purpose.
By the end of the Northern Illinois Big 12 East game, host Morris had put together a 64-49 victory Friday night in a nearly full gymnasium.
“The atmosphere in here was crazy,’’ Morris guard Jake Walker said. “Everyone was really into it. That’s exciting to see.’’
No one was more excited than Morris coach Joe Blumberg when Walker hit his fifth three-pointer as the third quarter ended to give the Redskins a 45-30 cushion.
“I need to calm down at times,’’ Blumberg said. “But you scream at your guys in practice to execute, and then they execute and hit the big shot in a big moment. I was happy for him.’’
“My teammates really allowed me to get open,’’ Walker said. “I’m more of a set shooter, so if I’m open, I’m going to shoot. I shot it with a lot more confidence.’’
Morris led 13-9 after one quarter and 31-22 at halftime. The Redskins were able to add to their lead with top scorer Austin Patterson on the bench for more than half the second quarter with two fouls.
Five other players scored for Morris in the second period—Walker, Evan Bjelland, Tanner Sampson, David Kneller and Brock Kukman, who also grabbed three rebounds in the quarter.
“Our rebounding I thought was the key to the game,’’ Blumberg said. “Patterson went out, you’re just trying to tread water. To extend the lead was a great testament to the guys in the game.
“Patterson is also our leading rebounder. Team wise, everybody stepped up and got one extra rebound.’’
Walker led all scorers with 21 points. Patterson and Bjelland each had 12 points and Kukman contributed nine points and eight rebounds for Morris (14-4, 5-1).
The Redskins maintained the lead in the fourth quarter by making 15-of-20 free throws. Patterson was 6-of-8 from the line in the final eight minutes.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who play hard,’’ Walker said. “That’s definitely what we go by, heart and hustle.’’
“I think they dominated the game,’’ Yorkville coach Dan McGuire said. “I don’t think we did much well. You’ve got to give them credit. They made shots, they executed.
“Their offensive rebounding was tremendous. We didn’t do a very good job of boxing out.’’
Kyle Domark led Yorkville (11-10, 2-3) with 18 points. Kyle Shimp scored 11 points and Josh Bondurant had 10.