WAVERLY, Iowa - Coe College led by as much as 22 Wednesday night, as they cruised by Wartburg 67-55. The win moved the Kohawks into sole possession of first place in the IIAC standings and clinched at least a share of the league title.
Coe scored the first six points of the game in 2:50 and twice led by 10 in the first 9:33 of the game. A layup by Wartburg's Jordan Sathoff with 10:17 remaining in the first half cut the lead to eight, but it was all Kohawks after that. Junior David Mataloni (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale) hit a 3-pointer to spark a 14-0 Kohawk run in the next 4:14, as they took a 36-14 lead with 5:44 to play in the first half. The Knights closed the first half on a 9-4 run, as Coe led 40-23 at the break.
Wartburg scored the first six points of the second half in just :42, as the lead was cut to 11. Back-to-back jumpers by Mataloni put Coe's lead back to 15 with 17:41 to play. The Kohawks led by 17 on a layup by junior Seth Light (Carlisle, Iowa/Carlisle) with 15:18 remaining before the Knights went on an 11-2 run in the next 3:33 to cut the lead to eight with 11:18 to play.
The Kohawks led 59-47 with 6:45 to play on a layup by senior Kevin Gaster (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Jefferson) but the Knights clawed their way back in. A 6-0 run cut the lead to six with 4:27 to play, but Coe used a basket-and-free throw from Light and a 3-pointer from Gaster to put the lead back to 12 with 2:35 to play. Both teams scored a layup in the final minute.
Mataloni led four Kohawks in double figures with a game-high 18 points. He became the 22nd player in school history to score 900 or more career points. Light added 12 points, while Gaster and junior Nathan Joens (Swisher, Iowa/Xavier) added 10. Sophomore Andrew Wirth (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls) dropped in nine. Sathoff led the Knights with 18 points.
Light and Gaster led the Kohawks with eight and six rebounds respectively. Junior Garrett Cross (Spring Grove, Minn./Spring Grove) had two assists. Light tied a career-high with four steals, while Mataloni had two.
The Kohawks will face Luther on Saturday at Eby Fieldhouse. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. The Kohawks hold a half game lead on Dubuque and a one-game lead over Luther and Buena Vista. The Spartans concluded their Iowa Conference season on Wednesday, while the Beavers travel to Cornell on Saturday. Coe will honor the senior members of the men's and women's teams between games on Saturday.