PALATINE, Ill. –The Harper College men's basketball team held an 11-point halftime lead over Illinois Valley Community College , but a reenergized Eagles squad took a lead for a brief period midway through the second half. The Hawks (6-7) regained their composure and outscored their opponents 23-12 over the final 8:05 to come away with a 77-69 victory.
Jazz Drane's layup with 8:55 left gave the Eagles (5-7) a 57-54 lead, but Dvonta Jones (Joliet, Ill./Joliet West) and Robert Hudson (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Conant), who both came off the bench, sparked a Harper comeback. Jones' free throws cut the deficit to one, and Hudson got to the line and knocked down a pair as well. Hudson's layup with 5:54 remaining gave the Hawks a 60-59 lead that they would not relinquish.
Reigning NJCAA Region IV Div. III Player of the Week Admir Suljic came to life offensively, knocking down a 3-pointer to push the lead to 66-61. On the next possession, Suljic converted a three-point play to extend the advantage to 69-61 with 2:56 left. The Eagles would get no closer than within six in the closing minutes.
|The Hawks came away with a 77-69 victory over Illinois Valley on Tuesday night. (Jim Cummins)|
Suljic scored a team-high 18 points and added seven rebounds. Jones, Hudson, and Jalon Roundy (Palatine, Ill./Fremd) each scored 10 points in the victory, and Davion Benton (Chicago, Ill. /Alcott College Prep) grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Tyree Coe led the Eagles with 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
Illinois Valley struggled from the foul line, making only 11-of-23 attempts. Harper converted 17-of-24 attempts from the line.
The Hawks closed on a 13-2 run over the final 5:59 of the first half for a 36-25 lead, highlighted by a pair of Benton dunks and a Suljic dunk.
Harper plays its next game on Thursday at Richard J. Daley College (0-12) in Chicago.