J-Hawks use big runs to pull away from Bobcats

Urbandale senior forward Allen Lazard will no doubt add some punch to the Iowa State offense on the gridiron in the coming years.

But he proved to the fans at the Roundhouse on Saturday that he can play a little basketball, too. And it was Lazard’s 19 points and 15 rebounds that knocked out the Bobcats, 65-59, in front of his future offensive coordinator Mark Mangino and some other Iowa State football assistants.

Lazard’s final blow was a two-handed monster slam with 2 minutes to go that extended the lead to 10 in the Central Iowa Conference cross-divisional contest.

“He was attacking the rim tonight,” Brad Bjorkgren said. “I am not sure if that was because Mangino was in the stands or not. But he really took the ball to the hole hard.

“Marshalltown is real scary the way they can shoot it. I know they got blitzed last night, but man, they can really shoot it. They shot it well in the fourth quarter. We could never really put it away.”

It was a complete turnaround from Friday night when the Bobcats trailed 39-19 at halftime and were blown out at home by Johnston.

Against the J-Hawks, the Bobcats buried 10 3-pointers and never gave up despite being down as many as 16 in the third quarter.

“It’s amazing what a 24-hour period can do to your mindset,” MHS coach Scott Smith said. “Last night was our poorest effort of the season without question. We proved tonight that we can play with the good teams in our league. This is gut check time. They responded tonight.

“We have the shooters to get back into the game. We are capable of beating anyone, but we have to do it for 32 minutes. We don’t have any margin for error.”

Urbandale trailed by one after the first quarter but Lazard scored the J-Hawks’ first seven points of the second frame to give the visitors a 20-16 lead. Urbandale began the second quarter on an 11-2 run because of an effective press and then a pair of triples by Mason Walter and Brody Egger sent the J-Hawks into the locker room with a 36-28 advantage at the break.

“We got a little discombobulated. We had trouble with the press and the turnovers turned it from a 1-point lead to a 6-point game,” Smith said. “They went inside in the second half and got up by 16, but we didn’t quit. Next thing you know, I look up and it’s a five-point game late in the fourth. We were right there.”

Urbandale came out of the break with 10 straight points to go up 46-28, but a three-point play from Mason McCarville and a 3-pointer from Aaron Hauser trimmed the deficit to 15 heading to the fourth.

McCarville and Hauser both came off the bench for the first time this season but they finished with eight and nine points, respectively.

“We shook up the starting lineup tonight,” said Smith. “The goal was to send a message to everybody that we are going to play the game the right way. They got that message. We are never satisfied with a loss, but I can sleep better tonight knowing we competed and gave a good effort.”

Austin Kluver and Hauser each buried a triple to get the Bobcat deficit to single digits early in the fourth quarter.

Lazard’s first dunk of the game pushed the Urbandale lead back to 13 with 4:55 to go, but Marshalltown (3-9) got within five on two McCarville free throws with 1:38 to play.

That’s when the J-Hawks won the game from the line. Urbandale came into the game as a 75 percent free throw shooting team and it made 8-of-12 in the final 1:30 to lock up the win.

Lazard’s thundering slam with 2 minutes to go certainly didn’t hurt though.

“We got some defensive stops, some rebounds and some easy buckets,” Bjorkgren said of the two runs in the second and third quarters. “We have had a hard time finishing games. We have been in a lot of games and just couldn’t finish them. To finish one was good.

“We are a 75 percent free throw shooting team so I have confidence we can make them. We have a bunch of guys that can make them, too.”

Diveney scored 12 points against Lazard in the first quarter but was shut out in the second and third frames. He hit two free throws, buried a trey and scored another two points on a putback in the fourth to finish with 19 points in the loss.

“I think he has gotten better than he was at the start of the year. He is a tough guard,” said Bjorkgren. “We probably put a little bit better fundamental defensive player on him. That allowed Allen to go around and help a little bit.”

Austin Kluver had his best offensive game of the year, finishing with 11, while Brady Arment had seven in his first start of the season.

Spencer Sturges finished with 11 for Urbandale, which improves to 4-8 on the year. Egger and Evan Sturns each scored nine while Ryan Yoder added eight. Jaran Sabus pitched in seven off the bench.

Notebook

Lazard is ranked as one of the top wide receivers in the nation and is expected to play right away for the Cyclones next fall. Don’t let Urbandale’s record fool you. Five of the seven J-Hawk losses have come against teams currently ranked in the Associated Press’s top 10, including Waukee, Ankeny Centennial, Southeast Polk, West Des Moines Valley and Des Moines North. The Bobcats will next host Cedar Falls at the Roundhouse on Tuesday. Tip-off is slated for 7:45 p.m.