PALATINE, Ill. – Keyed by a 14-0 run in the game's closing minutes, the Harper College men's basketball team picked up their eighth straight win, defeating Oakton Community College 76-65 on Tuesday night at the Wellness & Sports Center.
With the game tied at 62-62 with 2:56 to play, Harper's Bradley Reibel (/Prospect) found Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator)(game-high 28 points) in the corner with the shot clock winding down, and Walsh buried his fifth 3-pointer of the night to put the Hawks ahead 65-62. The Hawks (8-3) extended the lead to 67-62 with 1:37 left on a pair of technical free throws from Kevin Sexton (/Prospect).
The dagger came with just over a minute left with the shot clock expiring as Walsh, who was heavily guarded, heaved up a 3-pointer that found the bottom of the net to make it 70-62. Sexton (16 points) went a perfect 6-of-6 from the line in the final minute to seal the win.
"Anytime you can win eight games in a row, it gives you even more confidence," Walsh said.
The Hawks led for most of the first half but only held a 34-33 lead at the break. Harper stretched the advantage to 55-48 on a Michael Boyd (/Lake Zurich) 3-pointer with under 10 minutes to play, but Oakton (5-6) went on an 8-0 run to take the lead with 7:22 to play.
Harper responded the next possession as Walsh scored after grabbing an offensive rebound to reclaim the lead. The next trip down, Walsh drained another 3-pointer.
"They came back and got up two or three, but we knew we had to respond to their physicality," Walsh said. "Once we did defensively, we started hitting a few shots and got to the line more."
Bradley Reibel (/Prospect) stuffed the stat sheet for the Hawks, scoring eight points while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out six assists. Najee Bailey led the Raiders with 15 points.
The Hawks travel to Freeport, Ill. this weekend for the Highland Tournament. Harper opens tournament play on Friday at 5 PM against host Highland Community College.