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James Oshkeshequoam (Jr.-Keshena, Wis.) hit two free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining to cap a big rally and send the game into overtime, and the Lakeland College men's basketball team defeated Aurora (Ill.) University 99-94 Saturday afternoon in a battle between Northern Athletics Conference division leaders.
The Muskies rallied from a ten-point deficit in the final 1:27 of regulation to get the game to overtime, then took the lead for good on a Joey Burris (So.-Kiel, Wis.) three-pointer with 3:35 left in overtime. Lakeland picked up a huge victory over the NAC South Division leaders, improving to 18-5 overall and 11-3 in NAC play.
The Muskies trailed 78-68 after Scott Laskowski made one of two free throws for Aurora (16-6 overall, 11-2 NAC) with 1:27 left in regulation. Lakeland chipped away, though, getting free throws from Oshkeshequoam and Brandon Hagenow (Fr.-Sussex, Wis.), a jumper from Burris and a three-pointer by Jake Schwarz (Sr.-Sheboygan, Wis.) to cut the deficit to 79-77 with 38 seconds left.
The Muskies also took advantage of spotty free throw shooting by Aurora, which missed six of 11 shots in the final 1 1/2 minutes. Marious Lobdell did hit two free throws to give the Spartans an 81-77 lead, but Burris banked in a three-pointer with eight seconds left to make it a one-point game.
Jordan Hester then was fouled with five seconds left and made the first but missed the second, and Oshkeshequoam was fouled by Marquis Lobdell while trying to get across halfcourt. After a timeout, Oshkeshequoam calmly sank both free throws to tie it, and the Muskies survived a 60-footer by Hester at the buzzer which hit off the back of the rim before falling away.
The two teams traded scores to start overtime before Burris hit the go-ahead three to make it 89-86. The Muskies would never trail again, going ahead by five at 93-88 after a layup by Kurt Jansen (So.-Wrightstown, Wis.) and getting a big layup and free throws from Oshkeshequoam after the Spartans were within one with 1:33 to play.
The Muskies won a game that featured seven ties and 20 lead changes. The teams traded the lead throughout an ugly first half before Aurora took a 35-34 lead into halftime. Lakeland seemed to take control early in the second half, busting out of the locker room to take a 47-41 lead on Schwarz's layup with 15:06 to play in regulation.
The Muskies went cold, though, scoring just ten points over the next 7 1/2 minutes. Aurora drew even and then took control with an 8-0 run, going ahead 69-62 on a jumper by Kalmon Stokes with 4:39 to play.
Oshkeshequoam scored a career-high 29 points, carrying the Muskies offensively through slow stretches in the first and second halves and making 9-of-16 from the field, including three three-pointers as well as all eight of his free throw attempts. He added eight rebounds and four assists.
Justin Ward (Jr.-Wisconsin Dells, Wis.) also played a monster game for the Muskies, finishing with 20 points and a career-best 22 rebounds. Schwarz added 19 points and 11 rebounds and tied the NAC all-time career rebound record of 883 caroms, a record he currently shares with Austin Meier (2007-11) of Milwaukee School of Engineering.
The Muskies are back in action Thursday when they face Maranatha Baptist Bible College on the road at 7 p.m. in Watertown.