PALATINE, Ill. – Needing a win over first place Joliet, the Harper College men's basketball team shot nearly 57 percent from the floor on Saturday night on their way to a 100-75 win. The win puts Harper into a four-way tie with Joliet, Rock Valley and Triton atop the conference standings.
Harper shot 65.4 percent (17-of-26) in the first half alone and 56.7 percent (34-of-60) for the game while knocking down 13 3-pointers.
The Hawks (14-9, 6-2 N4C) came out of the gates on fire in the game's first 4 ½ minutes. Will Botefuhr (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect) converted a three-point play on the team's first possession, and the Hawks' played at a fast pace in the early going. Kevin Sexton (/Prospect)'s 3-pointer gave Harper an 18-9 cushion.
The Wolves (16-8, 6-2 N4C) cut it to 20-16 on a Zoran Aresnovic (15 points) bucket, but the Hawks answered to take a 29-18 lead. Back-to-back threes from Kevin Sexton (/Prospect) gave Harper a 37-24 lead with 6:55 to play in the half.
Joliet closed to within five with 4:20 to play in the half, but the Hawks went on a 15-5 run to seize a 52-37 halftime lead.
The lead swelled to 26 points (68-42) less than seven minutes into the second half. Harper's biggest lead came at 92-63 on a Tyler Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows ) basket with 5:25 to play. Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator) knocked down a 3-pointer with 28 seconds to go to give Harper 100 points in a game for the second time this season.
"We played our best offensive game as a team tonight," said Bradley Reibel (/Prospect), who scored 17 points. "I attribute that to playing more of a free motion style and pushing the ball well."
Sexton also scored 17 points for the Hawks while Gaedele added 16 points and five rebounds off the bench. Walsh chipped in 14 points, and Botefuhr scored 12. Deiondre Cunningham led the Wolves with 16 points and six rebounds.
The game was a stark contrast to the two teams' first meeting Jan. 8, a game in which the Hawks turned the ball over 24 times in a 72-56 defeat.
Harper travels to Rockford Wednesday night for a N4C matchup with No. 5 Rock Valley. In the two teams' first meeting, the Hawks knocked off the Golden Eagles 85-80 on Jan. 11 at Judson University.