MEQUON, Wis. – Aurora University's Brandon Smith drilled a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to shock Concordia University Wisconsin in a 77-74 decision during Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference play.
Every Falcon fan inside the R. John Buuck Field House thought overtime was inevitable after the Falcons trapped the Spartans just past half court, which resulted in a steal by Keith Kahlfeldt and a layup by Bradley Prinsen with 18 seconds left on the clock. On the ensuing inbounds, CUW's James Mitchell stole a pass at midcourt and found Prinsen for a 3-pointer from the left wing with 12.6 seconds remaining to tie the game on Saturday.
However, the Spartans without a timeout to use, put the ball in the hands of their best long ball shooter and Smith used a cross over dribble to create space before making the game-winner. The visitors win kept them atop the NACC standings, while the Falcons are in sixth place.
CUW was in complete control during the first half with a game-high 14-point lead with 7:08 to play before the intermission. The advantage slowly slipped to a 42-36 halftime lead, but increased back to double-digits, 51-40, with 16:42 left in the game.
AU's Kalmon Stokes made the game interesting with a triple to give them a 59-57 lead with just over seven minutes to play. Down the stretch there were five scoring ties and two lead changes. The Spartans shot a blistering 55.7 percent (34-of-61) from the field, while the Falcons struggled to 37.5 percent (24-of-64) from the floor.
Prinsen (junior, Oostburg, Wis.) led CUW with 16 points, to go along with four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Sophomore Eric Kittel (Brillion, Wis.) drained three long balls and ended with 15 points, two assists and two steals. Junior Keith Kahlfeldt (New Berlin, Wis.) finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Senior Mark Scholz (Greenfield, Wis.) played extremely well off the bench with eight points, to go along with a career-high 13 rebounds (six offensive) and three blocks. Senior Dustin Thumann (Marshfield, Wis.) added nine points, while junior Brett Boettcher (New Holstein, Wis.) had five points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Mitchell (junior, St. Louis, Mo.) had a career-high two steals.
Smith paced all players with 17 points, while Kyle Pilmer scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds for the Spartans. Kalmon Stokes added 13 points and five rebounds, while Denzel Irving scored 10 points off the bench.
CUW ended with a 41-32 rebounding advantage, which included a 19-8 difference in offensive rebounds. They also had a 15-6 lead in steals and shot 20-of-27 from the free throw line, compared to AU's 4-of-10 effort at the charity stripe.
CUW (4-6, 3-4 NACC) will have off until it plays on Saturday, Jan. 3, at 4:15 p.m. against Rockford University inside the R. John Buuck Field House.