Christian Wells gets second double-double in a row in No. 18 VU win over Shawnee - Athletics

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Christian Wells gets second double-double in a row in No. 18 VU win over Shawnee

VINCENNES, Ind. – For the second consecutive game Trailblazer sophomore Christian Wells notched a double-double. Wells was coming off a 13-point 15-rebound game at Lewis and Clark Saturday afternoon and followed that with 22 points and 11 rebounds in VU’s 68-58 win.

The Trailblazers got off to another slow start offensively but were aided by a trio of threes from freshman Brandon Muntu.

Vincennes’ defense shined in the early stages of the game, holding Shawnee to 19 first half points and 26-percent shooting from the field in the first 20 minutes of play.

VU then started the second half firing, scoring the first nine points out of the break to jump out to a commanding 38-19 lead.

Vincennes continued to expand their lead as the second half played on. The Trailblazers held a 22-point lead midway through the second half.

Christian Wells took over the game in the second half, scoring 15 of his game-high 22 points and grabbing eight of his 11 rebounds in the final 20 minutes.

The Trailblazers offense came together in the second period, shooting over 50-percent from the floor.

Shawnee would rally late to close the gap but the comeback attempt fell just short as free throws from Brevin Jefferson down the stretch kept the margin at 10 points.

“Other than we couldn’t finish around the basket or hit a few wide open threes in the first half, I thought we played pretty well,” VU Hall of Fame head coach Todd Franklin said. “I thought our finishes around the basket were not very strong but we had it where we should score. Sometimes we let the ball stink instead of moving it. When we moved the ball, we were successful.”

“I thought defensively we were really good, then we had a little breakdown late in the first half to get them to 19 or we could have had them in the low teens halftime. We’re still learning and we’re still not there yet. But for the first 35 minutes we were a much better basketball team tonight, then we just showed some weakness down the stretch that we can’t do.”

“We don’t have that strength of personality yet. We’ll roll our eyes and look at the officials. You’ll know when we are ready to make a real run when that stops. If all that hadn’t been going on tonight and we had stayed hard edged on what we were doing, then this would have been a 25-point win. We’ve made gains, we’re better because we’ve gotten some of that out.”

Brandon Muntu nearly matched Wells in the points column, finishing with 21 points on five of seven from behind the arc, while dishing out three assists and swiping two steals.

Sophomore John Ukomadu came through for VU on the offensive glass, grabbing six of his 11 boards off Trailblazer misses.

Sophomore Randy Tucker had an all-around night, finishing with five points, six rebounds and six assists.

“Brandon is our best catch-and-shoot shooter. We’ve got to get him better off the bounce and hitting his pull ups because he’s getting some opportunities. When he starts putting both of them together he’s going to be a problem.”

“Randy’s got to hit shots on the other side. Brevin is still trying to develop into a good shooter. If we can get Brevin to take one more step toward being a good shooter, then we can spread the floor more. We’ve tweaked our playing style. We’re powering teams up a little more and our inside kids are going to have to learn to be tough minded. Because we’re getting better spacing, we’re getting more inside-out touches for our guards. We’re getting them more space and doing some things that I think will help us and we’re starting to see some of those benefits tonight.”

Vincennes will have another quick turnaround as they host Kaskaskia Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. as part of a VU basketball doubleheader, with the No. 22 Lady Trailblazers taking on Kaskaskia at 5 p.m. eastern.

The Trailblazers will finish out their week on the road this weekend against Southwestern Illinois, Saturday Feb. 27. Tip-off will be a 6 p.m. eastern.

“I’m just looking for us to grow our intensity. Finding people that we trust each night to bring it. We’ve had a couple games in a row where we’ve had some decent performances but we’ve got a long way to go. We need to start seeing if we’re building, getting a little competitive edge and again tonight we see that we’re not there. We’re closer to there than we were, but this could have easily been a 25-point win and it ends up being 10 because of that. When we get past that, then this will be a 25-point win.”

“We need to get a group that’s wants to be competitively tough, that wants to take ownership of their job on the floor, that’s really what I want to see. We’re getting a pretty good idea of what we’ve got to do to win and it’s about taking ownership and seeing that come together. We’re seeing it happening, it’s just got to go another hard notch or two and I think it’ll need to be another hard notch or two to be able to beat Kaskaskia because Kaskaskia’s got a really good team.”

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