GLEN ELLYN, Ill. – The Harper College men's basketball team battled back from an early 19-point deficit to take a lead in the second half in the Region IV Semifinals against Joliet but could not hang on, losing 70-65 to end the season.
The third-seeded Hawks (17-14) trailed for the first 30:27 of the game until Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator)'s 3-pointer gave them a 55-54 lead with 9:33 to play.
A Kevin Sexton (/Prospect) basket made it 57-54 with 8:03 left. After Joliet's Deiondre Cunningham (24 points, 11 rebounds) nailed a three to tie it with 5:06 to play, Sexton hit a three to give the Hawks a 62-59 edge with 4:35 to play.
Cunningham answered back with a 3-pointer to tie at 62-62. Joliet turned up the defensive pressure on the next possession, forcing a turnover that led to Cunningham's sixth 3-pointer of the game to put the Wolves (21-10) up 65-62 with 3:27 left. The Hawks failed to score on their next two possessions, and Joliet's Zoran Aresnovic (14 points) went 3-of-4 at the foul line, pushing the lead to six.
Bradley Reibel (/Prospect)'s pair of free throws cut the deficit to 68-64, but Harper could not get any closer in the final minute of the game.
Walsh led the Hawks with 24 points, including a season-best seven 3-pointers. He averaged 24.5 PPG in postseason play and was named to the Region IV All-Tournament Team. Sexton and Reibel chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The Hawks fell into an early 25-6 hole in the first 11 minutes of the game. After a pair of Will Botefuhr (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect) baskets made it 25-10, Walsh hit three consecutive 3-pointers. Harper closed to within three points in the first half before the Wolves took a 39-31 lead into the locker room.