MARION – The number 13 was anything but unlucky for the Indiana Wesleyan University men’s basketball team Tuesday night inside their own Luckey Arena.
The No. 6 ranked Wildcats were very fortunate once again to have No. 24 on their side though.
Freshman Kyle Mangas, who sports a No. 24 jersey for the Wildcats, continued his fantastic freshman campaign in pacing IWU past Taylor 95-86 for a key Crossroads League win.
The victory, IWU’s 13th straight over Taylor, vaults the Wildcats into a tie atop the league standings with Saint Francis at 12-3. Huntington knocked off No. 3 Saint Francis 97-71 in another conference contest Tuesday night.
Mangas, a former star at WCHS, lit it up once again for the Wildcats. The 6-3 guard poured in a game-high 30 points as the Wildcats improved to 21-6 with their fifth straight win. It was the fourth time this season that Mangas has scored 30 or more points.
Mangas, the leading scorer for coach Greg Tonagel’s team at 21.5 points-per-game, hit 12-21 shots from the field. He also went 5-5 from the free throw line and also had six rebounds, five assists and two steals in 38 minutes.
The Wildcats led 50-48 at halftime thanks to shooting a blistering 20-33 from the field in the opening half. Taylor, which falls to 15-12 overall and 6-9 in league play, took a short-lived 62-61 lead in the final half. The Wildcats answered with a 13-2 run to take control of the game.
IWU finished 34-58 from the field and 21-25 from the line to highlight the win.
Taylor freshman guard Vinny Miranda scored 12 points. The former NorthWood High School standout hit 4-8 shots, including 3-5 from distance, in 23 minutes of playing time off the bench.
IWU plays at Saint Francis at 3 p.m. Saturday in a huge Crossroads League clash in Fort Wayne. The Wildcats then finish the league regular season at Mount Vernon Nazarene on Feb. 13 and at home versus Spring Arbor on Feb. 17. The Crossroads League Tournament begins Feb. 21.