Dec. 1, 2007
Final Stats |
NIU 65, Lamar 63
DeKalb, Ill. - NIU head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton often tells his squad to play until the whistle blows or the final buzzer sounds.
Huskie senior forward Egan Grafel (Oberlin, Kan. / Decatur Comm. / Cloud County C.C.) heeded Patton's advice as his tip-in of a Sean Smith jumper at the buzzer proved to be the game-winner as NIU came back from a 13-point second half deficit for the 65-63 non-conference victory over Lamar at the NIU Convocation Center on Saturday afternoon.
Grafel finished the game with 10 points and eight rebounds. Eight of those points came in the final 9:28 of the contest.
NIU senior forward Shaun Logan (Eldridge, Iowa / North Scott / Kirkwood C.C.) posted a double-double with a game-high 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Huskies. Freshman Jeremy Landers (Milwaukee, Wis. / Murphysboro / Genesis One (MS)) collected 14 points, five steals and four assists in his first career start for the Huskies.
"I am really proud of our young men," Patton said. "Our team came together today.
"We had superb energy from the bench, our team on the floor really fed off them," Patton continued. "This win should teach us more about ourselves than if we came out and really dominated someone."
With the victory, NIU improves to 1-6 on the campaign, while the Cardinals fall to 1-5 overall.
Lamar point guard Kenny Dawkins topped the Cardinals with 16 points, while forward Lamar Sanders added a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds in the defeat.
The Cardinals, who led by as many as 13 in the second half, took a 57-48 lead following a Dawkins' jumper with 12:13 left in the game. That's when the Huskies' took control, scoring 17 of the next 23 points to secure the victory.
With the score tied at 61, both team traded possessions before Landers knocked down a 12-foot jumper with 1:04 left to give the Huskies the 63-61 advantage. The Huskies' had an opportunity to put the game away, but a shotclock violation with 12 seconds left in the game gave the ball back to the Cardinals.
Dawkins took the ball to the basket and promptly tied the game at 63 with a lay-up with eight seconds remaining. On the ensuing possession, Smith took the game-winning shot, but Grafel was able to tip the carom in for the winner.
The Huskies are back in action on Tuesday evening, as they host Air Force for a 7 p.m. tip-off at the NIU Convocation Center.