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Mustangs hold off Spartans, 76-64

Mount Vernon second-quarter surge keeps Solon at bay

MOUNT VERNON– It was another pretty close game.
After building an eight-point lead in the first half, Mount Vernon moved to 8-0 on the season by holding off Solon, 76-64, Jan. 7 in Mount Vernon.
The loss dropped Solon to 2-6.
The Spartans trailed by only a point, 18-17, at the end of the first period, but the Mustangs padded the margin in the second period and held a 37-29 advantage at the half.
Solon could keep pace in the third quarter, but couldn’t trim the lead.
Mount Vernon junior Keaton Kutcher carried the load for Mount Vernon, scoring 32 points and grabbing five steals.
“Kutcher is a heck of a player and ended up with 32 points but earned all of them,” Solon Head Coach Matt Lesan said. “I thought our defense was solid on him, and I've got to give him a lot of credit for making a lot of difficult shots. He attempted 25 shots to get his 32 points and going into the game that was our plan.”
The Spartans were led by junior David Bluder with 14 points and junior Ben Cusick with 13. Fellow juniors Carson Shive and Will Noonan added eight each.
As a team, Solon shot 54 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range, but only 41 percent (7-17) from the charity stripe. Mount Vernon shot 50 percent from the field and 30 percent from deep, and was only slightly better at the line with 47 percent (8-17).
The Mustangs took 16 more attempts from the field than the Spartans and held a 31-26 edge on the boards, including 12 offensive rebounds. Nine different Solon players grabbed a rebound, led by senior Cam Miller with six, Bluder with five and Shive with four. Miller also had six assists and the team as a whole had 19 assists on 25 made baskets.
“We are doing a great job of competing and have been in every game this year, but a tough lesson we are learning right now is the importance of every possession,” Lesan said. “We were up 24-21 and a few turnovers and some mental mistakes later, we are now down 32-24. In this league and against good teams you can't afford to do that. The encouraging thing is that all of the mistakes we are making are correctable, and something we will be focusing on moving forward. I'm very proud of the efforts and look forward to the remaining games.”
Friday’s home game against West Delaware was moved to Monday, Jan. 13, but Saturday’s planned matchup with Beckman Catholic at Loras College has not been rescheduled, Lesan said.
After a trip to Williamsburg Jan. 14, the Spartans host Maquoketa Friday, Jan. 17, then take a road trip to Central DeWitt for a girl/boy doubleheader Tuesday, Jan. 21. Solon’s boys have another chance at Mount Vernon when they host the Mustangs Friday, Jan. 24.