CEDAR FALLS — If you give A.J. Green an inch on the basketball court, he’s likely to take a mile, which Dubuque Senior learned the hard way Friday night.
Green scored 22 of his 31 points in the first half, leading Cedar Falls to a 67-57 win over the ninth-ranked Rams in a Valley Division showdown of the Mississippi Valley Conference Friday.
The Northern Iowa commit came out firing, hitting the first of his seven 3-pointers on the opening possession of the game.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Green’s performance is that the bulk of his outside shots were highly contested. But as he’s often able to do, he frequently created just enough space to get a shot off, much to the frustration of the Rams.
“With a special player like that, he gets a lot of attention,” Cedar Falls coach Ryan Schultz said. “We’re used to it now, seeing doubles coming and seeing full shades and things like that. I think our team is used to seeing that, he’s used to seeing that, so he’s able to adapt in those situations.”
After carrying the load early, Green got plenty of offensive help from his teammates in the second half. Jackson Frericks hit a pair of 3s early in the third quarter before Logan Wolf added another, helping Cedar Falls push its lead as high as 16.
Frericks finished with 10 points, as did Wolf, who made one of the biggest plays of the night for Cedar Falls when he scored a layup off his own steal just past the midway point of the fourth quarter after the Rams had cut the Tiger lead to 60-52.
Green credited his teammates for stepping up in the second half against a defense that was dead set on containing him.
“I’ve been seeing (extra attention) for awhile now,” Green said. “I know when it’s coming that I need to find my teammates. I trust them to make plays, too, and they did tonight. They stepped up big and that was good.”
After losing three of four, the Tigers have bounced back with four consecutive wins to up their record to 7-3. Friday’s win also boosted their conference record to 6-1.
“I thought this is as close as we’ve been to putting four full quarters together, which is good to see,” Schultz said. “We’re taking incremental steps. I still see a lot of areas where we can improve, but I’m very happy with the effort from everybody on the team tonight on both ends of the floor.”
CAPTIVE AUDIENCE: While Green stole the show, Cedar Falls forward Jack Campbell may have had more eyes on him than anyone else in the gym Friday.
A coveted linebacker in the 2019 recruiting class, Campbell played in front of coaches from both the Iowa State and Iowa football teams, with Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz making the trip to Cedar Falls.
Campbell pulled down a game-high eight rebounds and finished with seven points, the final two coming on an emphatic dunk that helped seal the game in the final minutes.
The slam proved to be a bit of redemption for Campbell, who had missed a previous dunk attempt in the second half.
“The first one I went up and I let go of it because I got kind of scared, but the second one I told myself I was going to dunk it,” he said. “I went up and it felt good.”
Cedar Falls 67, Dub. Senior 57DUBUQUE SENIOR (8-3, 5-2) — Carter Stevens 4 0-0 9, Marshaun Carroll 4 3-6 12, Sam Link 2 3-3 8, Landon Hermsen 3 3-4 9, Nick Timmerman 4 0-3 10, Jack Vandermillen 0 0-2 0, Jospeh Kruse 1 3-4 5, Josiah Harris 1 0-0 2, Sam Noel 0 0-0 0, Erik Tupper 0 0-0 0, Austin Manders 0 2-2 2. Totals 19 14-24 57.
CEDAR FALLS (7-3, 6-1) — AJ Green 12 0-0 31, Logan Wolf 3 1-3 10, Ben Gerdes 1 2-2 4, Jackson Frericks 3 1-3 10, Jack Campbell 3 1-3 7, Mason Abbas 0 0-0 0, Sam Gary 0 2-2 2, Tate Johnson 0 0-0 0, Joshua Ollendieck 0 0-0 0, Reese Gardner 1 1-2 3. Totals 23 8-15 67.
Dub. Senior 17 11 13 16 — 57
Cedar Falls 23 15 14 15 — 67
3-point goals—Senior 5 (Timmerman 2, Stevens 1, Carroll 1, Link 1), Cedar Falls 11 (Green 7, Frericks 3, Wolf 1). Total fouls—Senior 16, Cedar Falls 17. Fouled out—none.