Winning basketball games comes down to the little things.
And St. Ambrose's men's team did enough little things Wednesday night to beat a team it should, taking care of Iowa Wesleyan 75-65.
The victory allowed the Bees (16-9 overall) to stay at least within a game of conference leaders Grand View, as SAU improved to 8-4 in MCC play.
"We've struggled, largely, with teams we're supposed to beat," said SAU assistant coach Jim Kiss, after head coach Ray Shovlain - battling illness all day Wednesday - left the arena immediately after game's end. "And we did struggle getting up for (Iowa Wesleyan).
"Luckily, they don't pick up pressure very well, and a couple of our guys stepped up and made shots."
That was junior reserve Bren Gillespie, who knocked down three first-half 3-pointers en route to an 11-point half, fueling a 10-point Ambrose lead. The Bees never could extend, though, against Wesleyan (8-15, 3-9 MCC) past a 14-point gap, and even saw their lead drop to as precarious a place as six (68-62) with 3:43 left to play.
A pair of free throws and three straight baskets by Justin Tiner, however, re-established SAU's double-digit lead for good.
"From now on, every game is a good test for us," Tiner said. "This was big. We had to win this game. We've been dropping some games, not that they were beating us, it was us beating ourselves."
Tiner and Bryce Davis each had 16 points, with Gillespie adding 13 and Chris Donnelly 12. Mike Kennedy struggled from the floor (3-for-12) but finished with nine points and nine rebounds.