Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. – Jake Howdeshell has been part of a team his whole life.

Men's Basketball vs. IU Northwest January 2, 2014The Men's Basketball team with veterans.This week his two most important teams — Indiana University Kokomo men's basketball and the Army National Guard – came together, as the basketball team hosted Military Appreciation Night.

Howdeshell, a freshman from Fulton, was excited to share his military experience with his basketball teammates.

"The U.S. military is one of the biggest teams I'll ever be on," he said. "It allows our basketball team to express our gratitude to the members of the military, who make it possible for us to do things like play basketball. We have our freedoms because of the men and women who serve our country."

The team played its game against IU Northwest wearing camouflage uniforms, to mark to occasion, and offered free admission to all veterans and active duty military. It was the least they could do to show their appreciation and respect, Coach Jace Thompson said.

"IU Kokomo's region is home to many veterans and people currently serving our country," he said. "This is a way we can give back to them, and thank them for all they do for us. Many of our fans are veterans, and we appreciate their service."

Howdeshell is the first athlete Thompson has coached who is doing double duty, playing on a team and serving in the National Guard.

"We look forward to having Jake become a leader of our team during the next four years," he said. "As a freshman, he already shows many qualities of a great leader, and his work with the National Guard will only help him continue to develop those skills."

Howshedell grew up planning to serve, following in the footsteps of his father and other relatives, but he also wanted to earn a college degree. The National Guard allows him to do both.

"The guard helps me pay for school, so I don't have to use my mom and dad's money," he said. "I get paid to be a full time student, a basketball player, and I get to be a soldier. It's a win-win for me."

It can be challenging balancing those three responsibilities, but his coach and his military supervisors have worked with him to make it possible.

"The National Guard wants me to have the college experience, and the sports life," he said. "They understand that I have obligations to this team and theirs, and they help me balance it. I'm dedicated to basketball and putting myself through school with the National Guard. Both teams want me to graduate, and that helps. I don't have a lot of free time outside of those, but it's definitely worth it."

He plans a career in the Army after earning a degree in criminal justice.

"I'm already starting to love it," he said. "This is something I want to do with my life."

The Cougars beat the RedHawks in overtime, 97-92.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — It's all about the students.

IU Kokomo Cougars vs. Wilberforce UniversityInterim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke and student body vice president Mary Olk present Joann Kaiser the Outstanding Educator Award.

That is Joann Kaiser's philosophy of teaching, one shared by her fellow faculty at Indiana University Kokomo.

Tuesday, February 5, the campus' student athletes hosted faculty and staff appreciation night, at the Cougar men's basketball game, to thank the professors, advisors, admissions counselors, maintenance workers, administrative assistants, and other faculty and staff who care about their success.

Kaiser, lecturer in communication arts, received a special honor — the Student Government Association's Outstanding Educator Award — which is chosen by a student committee, based on student nominations. Interim Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke and Mary Olk, student body vice president, presented the award at halftime.

"I was honored to learn I had received this award," Kaiser said. "It was a great boost to me to know the students appreciate what I do. They're they reason I do what I do. I enjoy getting to know my students, and helping them develop a love of learning."

Kaiser leads a freshman learning community, and teaches communication and theater classes. She began her career at IU Kokomo as an adjunct faculty member in 1988, and has been a full-time lecturer for four years.

Olk said the award is given each semester to honor those "who go above and beyond the call of duty, and who exceed expectations."

While faculty may receive honors within their departments or IU, she said, "I think it means something different when it comes from the students. This is a way of giving back for all the work they do for us."

Kaiser was not the only faculty or staff member honored, though. Throughout the game, Dean Hockney, the Voice of the Cougars, read tributes to many of them, written by student athletes. They praised not only professors, but advisors, assistants, and physical plant workers, thanking them for helping with goal setting, being "encouraging and motivating," teaching "in a fun, relatable-to-life-type way," being "positive and understanding," making writing more enjoyable, and demonstrating work ethic.

Sarah Sarber, dean of students, said it was important for the athletic department to recognize those who help them achieve their goals, not only as athletes, but also as students.

"This night was a way to thank our faculty and staff for their support," she said.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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Kokomo, Ind.- Indiana University Kokomo men's basketball team played host to the NCAA Division II Salem International University (SIU) Tigers from Salem, West Virginia. The high scoring offense of the Tigers proved too much as IU Kokomo was defeated 89-64 on their home court on Saturday, January 5.

20130105-IUK_vs_SIU-IMG_7311Joby Renbarger at the foul line. Visit Flickr for more pictures.

"Tonight was all about another opportunity to get better," said Head Coach Jace Thompson. "We faced a press for the first time this year, and overall, I thought we did a pretty good job against it."

The Cougars opened play with the first basket, but Salem went on a 15-0 run to take a 2-15 lead. Back-to-back three-point baskets by Nathaniel Carroll (Daleville/Daleville H.S.) and Jerome Campbell (Indianapolis/ Arsenal Tech H.S.) ended the run with less than 13 minutes left in the first half. The Cougars would get within seven (16-23) when Joby Renbarger (Greentown/ Eastern H.S [Ancilla C.C]) hit two free throws with less than eight minutes to go the first half. The Tigers and Cougars traded baskets from the four-minute mark on and SIU would end the first half with a three-point basket for the 18-point half time lead over IUK.

In the second half, the Cougars would cut the lead to 13 (44-57) with less than 13 minutes left in the game after Jacob Faust (Galveston/Lewis Cass H.S. [Mount St. Joseph College]) hit a free throw. From there, the SIU Tigers would continue to build on their lead, shooting 65 percent (17-of-26) from the floor and 83 percent (5-of-6) from behind the arc in the second half. From there, Salem International University cruised to the 89-64 victory over the Cougars.

"We are a young team and it is not an excuse. A lot of our young guys showed flashes of getting better, including John Capps," said Thompson. "Tonight, Renbarger had one of his best games of the year."

Nathaniel Carroll led the Cougars in scoring with 14 points and Joby Renbarger added 10 points against the Tigers. Spencer Krhin and John Capps both finished with seven points for IU Kokomo. Kevin Webb led the Salem International Tigers with 17 points and five rebounds.

The Cougars (5-11) begin their five game road stretch Wednesday, January 9, when they travel to Belleville, Illinois to play Lindenwood Unversity-Belleville. Game time is set for 8 p.m. at the Lynx Arena. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow Cougar Basketball on Twitter at @IUKBasketball and on Facebook (/IUKBasketball). Visit our website at

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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Kokomo, Ind. – Indiana University Kokomo men's basketball team got their first home victory of the season against Purdue University North Central (PNC). The Cougars topped the Panthers, 81-76, in front of a large Homecoming crowd Saturday.

Cougars Homecoming vs Purdue University North CentralNathaniel Carroll (32) sweeps around Purdue University North Central for another point. See more photos here."The team played really well tonight," said Head Coach Jace Thompson. "Everyone bought into being a good teammate and committing to our stuff. We had excellent efforts from the role players and they were the ones that made this a win.

"The atmosphere was special tonight. We had a great student section and the parents and community members made it a great college atmosphere. We are lucky to live in a basketball community that supports us," Thompson added.

PNC opened the game with a three-point basket, but Carroll answered with a three for the Cougars to tie it up. The Panthers would push their lead to eight with less than 16 minutes left to go in the first half, courtesy of back-to-back baskets. After the one-minute media timeout, Campbell would get fouled and head to the line to convert the three-point play to pull the Cougars within three.

With about seven minutes left in the first half, IU Kokomo would tie it up at 25-all off a Campbell three point basket and take a one point lead when Northington knocked down two free-throws. PNC went on a 5-0 run to take back the lead, 31-27.

With five minutes to play in the first half, Renbarger cut the lead to one with a basket. The Cougars would tie it up at 34 all after Jalen Tinder scored with less than four minutes left before the half. The Cougars were unable to move off 34 and PNC would go on a 7-0 run until Krhin and Lawrence would combine for three free throws to get the Cougars back within four. Lawrence ended the second half with a basket to cut the lead to four (39-43) heading into the locker room.

Renbarger opened the second half with a basket to cut the lead to two, but a steal by PNC extended their lead back to four (41-45). A basket by Lawerence off a Carroll pass brought the Cougars within one point. The Cougars took the lead after Carroll knocked down a 3-point basket with less than 17 minutes left in the game. Northington hit back-to-back baskets to extend the lead to six with under 15 minutes.

PNC cut the lead to one with under six minutes left in the game until Carroll knocked down two free throws to push the Cougar lead to three. The Panthers would fight back to cut the lead to two with less than three minutes to play. Back-to-back baskets by Renbarger pushed the margin to 6 (76-70). With only two minutes left in the game, PNC was unable to cut into the lead and the Cougars cruised to a 81-76 victory.

The Cougars were able to shake off the poor shooting performance from Tuesday to improve to 40 percent (27-of-66) from the floor and 25 percent (7-of-28) from behind the arc for the game. The Panthers shot 40 percent (26-of-64) from the field and 19 percent (4-of-21) from the three-point line for the game. The Panthers were unable to connect from the three-point line in the second half, going 0-10, while the Cougars knocked down three from long range.

Joby Renbarger finished the game with his second double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Reomey Northington had a team high 17 points and Nathaniel Carroll was the third Cougar in double figure scoring with 15. David Kelly led all scores for the PNC Panthers with 19.

The Cougars (4-6) continue their home stretch hosting Indiana University Northwest Saturday (December 15) at Kokomo High School Gymnasium (Entrance 13). Kokomo High School is located on 2501 South Berkley Road in Kokomo. Tip-off is set for 3 PM against the RedHawks. Live video is available online at or for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Cougar Basketball on Twitter at @IUKBasketball. You can also find the Cougars on Facebook (/IUKBasketball).

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. -- Nothing like putting the finishing touches on a great season. The Indiana University Kokomo Cougars wrapped up their inaugral season with a 96-77 victory over the visiting St. Francis jayvee squad here.senior_night_student_section_300Cougar Crazies watch the action

Thursday night, putting five players into double figures, Anthony Graves led the Cougars with 23 points while Nathaniel Carroll and Brandon Larrick each chipped in 15. Aaron Knupp and Jared Lawrence finished with 12 points each.

That was the plan from the start, said first-year Coach Jace Thompson after the game."We said it in the locker room and wrote it on the board," Thompson said. "Keep your hands high, attack on offense, and the end result will be a victory."

Kokomo led 49-44 at halftime, then came out in the second half and started trading baskets with St. Francis until about the 14-minute mark until a 10-3 run by the visitors cut IUK's lead to 65-64. But the Cougars answered -- in a big way. Lawrence canned a pair of free throws then dropped in a three-pointer from the right wing. Carroll followed a St. Francis miss with his own three-pointer that ignited a 20-2 IUK run.

When the dust settled with just over four minutes to play, the Cougars were comfortably in control, 85-66.

Five different Cougars scored in the outburst.

"We have a lot of guys capable of knocking down those shots," Thompson said.Thompson began the game with a different look, utilizing a starting five consisting of players who usually don't see a lot of playing time.

"Those are the guys who probably weren't anywhere last year," Thompson explained. "They came in here and worked hard in practice despite not seeing a lot of playing time. They deserved a chance to hear their named called. If you noticed, the starters were standing, applauding their effort."

IUK enjoyed a nice advantage on the boards, out-rebounding St. Francis 41-23, led by Larrick's 11 rebounds.

"Brandon decided he was going to come out and let loose, crash the boards, go for those loose balls," Thompson said. "And he did. Then everyone else did, too. It was kind of infectious."

After the game, the Cougars first honored lone senior Jarrett Adams for his contributions, on and off the court. Chancellor Michael Harris then spoke to the crowd and team about what he called, "a historic event."

"You are now part of history," he told the team, "and you will always be able to say you were part of the first basketball team at IU Kokomo. I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who helped make this a success."

For the visitors, S.J. Moultrie, a Kokomo High School graduate, was one of three players to finish with 14 points.

Story by Mike Geiselman.

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RUSSIAVILLE, IN - Indiana University Kokomo men's basketball coach Jace Thompson expects a lot out of Anthony Graves, and well he should. Tryin to find an open man.Trying to find an open man.

Graves is the only player on the Cougar squad who isn't a freshman, who isn't new to college basketball. So when it came to crunch time Thursday night here against visiting Grace College (JV), it was Graves that Thompson turned to and it was Graves that came through in the clutch. Trailing by two (79-78) with seven seconds left, IUK inbounded the ball to Graves who went the length on the court, driving hard to the basket. His shot was off, only because he had been fouled in the act of shooting.

Graves calmly sank both freebies with :01 showing, Grace's long inbounds was off the mark and the Cougars were celebrating a 80-79 home victory.

"We didn't have a set play in case (Grace) missed a free throw," Thompson said afterward. "Just that (Graves) was supposed to drive and create or drive and kick it out – we had a three-point shooter in the corner. When he went to the line, I had a lot of confidence that he would sink them both."

Graves finished with a team-high 20 points, despite not getting his usual start in the backcourt.

"Anthony is a very capable player but he needs to toughen up on defense," Thompson said. "He did some things in practice ... let's just say we needed to motivate him. If he was as intense on defense as he is on offense, he would be one of the best players in NAIA."

Graves did provide a spark midway through the first half, hitting consecutive baskets for the Cougars including a three-pointer from the right win that tied the game at 31. Cameron Richardson and Nathaniel Carroll followed with treys of their own, igniting a 9-2 run to end the first half, putting IUK up 40-35 at the break.

IUK held that lead until about four minutes remained when a lay-in and a free throw from Grace's Morgan Michalski put the Lancers up 72-69. With just over a minute to play, a put back from Brandon Larrick eased IUK into a 76-75 edge, heading into the dramatic final seconds.

Grace was led by Jared Treadway, a graduate of Northwestern High School, who scored a game-high 34 points, including 20 in the first half. Thompson said the goal was to put the clamps on Treadway or 7-foot Adrian Makolli, both of whom had big games against the Cougars earlier in the season. Makolli finished with just seven points on 3 of 6 shooting.

IUK balanced its attack with 18 points from Jared Lawrence, 16 from Carroll and 11 from Larrick. Lawrence scored the Cougars' first 11 points in the second half. IUK outrebounded Grace (32-24) behind six boards from Richardson and Larrick, and five from Aaron Knupp and Lawrence.

Story by Mike Geiselman.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Fans of the Indiana University Kokomo men’s basketball team can meet the players and coaches at a “Meet the Cougars” night Wednesday, February 8 at Harvey Hinklemeyers.

BBall_teamCoach Jace Thompson said the team and mascot Kingston Cougar would be at the restaurant, 1554 S. Dixon Road, from 6 to 9 p.m. He encouraged fans to bring their game tickets, which each include a coupon for three free breadsticks. Harvey Hinklemeyers is the team’s ticket sponsor for its inaugural season.

Thompson plans more community outreach for his team, as they build a fan base in north central Indiana.

“This is a way for people to get to know our guys off the court, so they have an investment in seeing our team be successful,” he said.

The Cougars (4-11) play their next game at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 9 at home against Grace College.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. – The Indiana University Kokomo men’s basketball team continues to learn and progress during its inaugural season, and this week’s lesson was how to hold a lead when the opponent is on a late game roll. Consider it a lesson learned as the Cougars withstood a fierce late game rally by the University of St. Francis (JV) to grab win number four on the year, 80-75.

IMG_9938Jared Lawrence at the line for the Cougars.

“We always take a win no matter how they look,” said IU Kokomo Head Coach Jace Thompson. “We are a young team and we will learn from this win.”

IU Kokomo held a slim 35-34 lead after a sloppy first half of basketball in which neither team could find its rhythm. Tied at 44, the second half looked as if it would be much of the same until the Cougars of Kokomo came to life after a 3-pointer by Jared Lawrence (Springport, Ind./Blue River Valley) started a rally that would eventually see IU Kokomo lead by as many as 17 points.

“He is a beast – he is a hard guy to handle,” said Thompson of Lawrence. “It is nice to watch him play. He makes me look like a much better coach than what I am.”

With the help of strong second-halves from Lawrence, Brandon Larrick (Kokomo, Ind./Western), Cameron Richardson (Kokomo, Ind./Northwestern) and Nathaniel Carroll (Daleville, Ind./Daleville), the Cougars were in control until St. Francis guard Brequan Tucker scored back-to-back buckets to cut the lead to nine in the closing minutes. Following a Cougar turnover, Tucker hit a shot in the paint forcing a Kokomo timeout.

“We struggled at times in transition and that caused us to get into a little bit of a funk,” said Thompson. “But it is finding ways to win it, no matter what. You get the W and get out the door and learn to fight another day.”

Kokomo found the way to win by hitting its free throws down the stretch. Carroll was a perfect 6 for 6 and Lawrence was 4 of 5 in the second half as the Cougars finished the game 13 of 19 from the charity stripe.

Lawrence led the Cougars with 14 second half points en route to a team-high 22 points on 8 of 11 shooting. Carroll had 13 second half points and scored 17 for the game, and Larrick scored 13 and grabbed 12 rebounds to post a double-double. Richardson played his best game of the season, scoring 13 points while Aaron Knupp (Springport, Ind./Blue River Valley) added eight points.

“We have guys like Aaron Knupp who I rarely have to talk to during a game because he is usually in the right place doing a lot of good things,” said Thompson.

St. Francis (9-5) was led by 28 points from Tucker, 17 from Taylor Burkhart and 12 from John Degenhardt. Kokomo High School graduate S.J. Moultrie started for St. Francis and scored one point in his return home.

The Cougars (4-11) return to action on Thursday, Feb. 9 for a home game against Grace College (JV). Game time is set for 7 p.m. in the Historic Gym at Western High School.

Story by Dean Hockney.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. - The latest chapter in the ongoing development of the Indiana University Kokomo basketball program unfolded Tuesday night at Western High School before a large crowd and 10 potential recruits to the

IUKBB1-31-12-091The Cougars battle all the way to the end. See More

Everyone who purchased a ticket certainly got their money's worth as the Cougars and the visiting Lindenwood University - Belleville Lynx put on a show that wasn't decided until the last seconds of the game. The cat fight ended with the Cougars falling to the visiting Lynx, 87-85. Coach Jace Thompson was pleased with the effort of his team after the game, if not frustrated with the outcome.

“We battled back,” Thompson said. “They had some severe matchup problems with us. We showed signs that typical first-year teams don't show.”

The Cougars took control of the game early in the first half, building a 15-6 lead in the first four minutes. The more experienced Lindenwood team found its stride and most of the first half was back and forth.  Things went flat for the Cougars late in the first half and the Lynx ended the first stanza with a 4-0 run that would continue nearly four minutes into the second half. IUK’s Anthony Graves made pair of free throws at 15:49 of the second half that ended a 24-0 Lindenwood run. The Cougars faced a 15-point deficit but, like Thompson said, they battled back.

“We aren't doing things like we did at the first of the year,” Thompson explained. “Things are more complex. I don't know what this game would have been like three months ago.”

Fueled Graves’ effort, the Cougars steadily cut into the Lynx lead, finally tying the game at 72 with 5:08 left. From there the sparring continued until the last minute. Lindenwood took the lead, 85-81, with 28 seconds left. IUK’s Nate Carroll converted a layup on the other end to make 85-83 with 18 ticks left. 

The Cougars fouled and Lindenwood’s Allen Siedle missed the front end of a one and one. The Cougars rebounded and Carroll once again laid the ball in for an 85-85 tie with nine seconds left.

Following the Lindenwood timeout, the Lynx moved the ball up the court after a breakdown by the IUK defense, and Matt Sturdivant’s shot off the glass at three seconds gave the visitors the 87-85 lead.

“We didn't want to get so far stretched out from them,” Thompson said of the last Lindenwood play. “We said keep everyone in front of you. We had a break down and we came up hill to help, which you aren't supposed to do.”

But there was time for one more play and Thompson signaled time and gathered his troops on the sideline.

Taking a play out of Homer Drew’s Valparaiso playbook, the Cougars’ Brandon Larrick threw the ball the length of the court to Aaron Knupp, who quickly made the pass to Graves. Graves’ three-pointer for the win went long off the back of the rim.

“That is exactly the play we wanted to run,” Thompson said. “It’s the play they ran for Bryce Drew at Valpo. We got a good look but it didn’t go in. It happens sometimes."

The Cougars were led by Graves with 33 points, all of them coming in the second half. Carroll and Jared Lawrence each tallied 12 for IUK and Larrick finished with 10. Lindenwood was paced by guard Todd Starks with 28 points and Nick Souders with 18.

From here, the Cougars take to the home court again on Thursday, February 2, against St. Francis University with a 7 p.m. start at Western High School.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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KOKOMO, Ind. - Indiana University Kokomo will host Kids’ Night at the Tuesday, January 31, men’s basketball game, sponsored by the Kokomo Family YMCA. All high school aged kids and younger will get in free, have the chance to participate in halftime games and win prizes, and hang out with IU Kokomo’s mascot, Kingston Cougar. Kids’ Night will start at 7 p.m., and the game will be played at Western High School, Gate 9.

Before the game, Kingston Cougar will select four kids to participate in a game of “dizzy bat” during halftime. Selected participants will start at one end of the basketball court, race to the other end to spin around a baseball bat, and race back down the court to shoot a basket. All dizzy bat participants will receive a gift certificate for a large pizza at Harvey Hinklemeyers. The IU Kokomo Student Athletics and Wellness Board is sponsoring dizzy bat.

Head Basketball Coach Jace Thompson is excited for the game and appreciates the sponsorship and support of the YMCA.

“The YMCA has done a lot for the team this season, and we are really glad to have the support of the community,” Thompson added.

Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar is handing out gift certificates for six free wings to the first 50 kids that come to the game. Solidarity Federal Credit Union and the YMCA will hand out other novelty items while supplies last.

The YMCA is also sponsoring a game of Biddy Ball, bringing in two of their youth leagues to play a five-minute game during halftime. 

Coach Thompson also expressed gratitude toward the YMCA, as they have served as a training facility for the Cougars. 

“The YMCA has been really great to our team and to IU Kokomo,” Thompson said. “They’ve given us a place to work out, helped improve our strength and skills, and we’re looking forward to training in the off season.”

Thompson also added that this will be a big night for the Cougar program.

“We’ll have around 10 to 13 recruits coming to watch the game, and we’re really looking forward to it,” Thompson said. 

IU Kokomo will play against Lindenwood-Belleville.

Story by Mary Olk. Mary is an intern in the Office of Media & Marketing.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.