(Sugar Grove, IL.) – Despite a huge game from sophomore center Josh McAuley, Waubonsee Community College fell to visiting Kishwaukee College 74-71 in an overtime thriller. The Kougars nailed 26 free throws for the game and rallied in the second half to eventually pull out the win, dropping the Chiefs to 7-6 overall as they head into a lengthy Holiday break.
McAuley returned to the court and picked up right where he left off after being sidelined for over a month with a hamstring injury, missing the Chiefs' last eight games, The Chiefs' 6'8" center averaged 29.8 points and 15 rebounds over the Chiefs' first four games of the season, garnering an NJCAA Division II Player of the Week honor along the way. Against the Kougars he was nearly unstoppable as he scored 37 points, including a half-court desperation buzzer-beater to send the game into overtime.
The Chiefs pounced on the Kougars at the outset, taking a 9-2 lead in the opening minutes. Behind 17 points from McAuley, Waubonsee grabbed a 36-29 lead at halftime as they kept the Kougars' dynamic duo of Luke Davis and Robert Johnson in check. Davis, averaging 19.9 points and 11.8 rebounds a game, had just six points and only one rebound in the first half. Johnson, averaging 14.9 points and 12 boards, was scoreless and had only one rebound at the break.
Waubonsee extended its lead to 12 points at 41-29 early in the second half. However, the Chiefs were unable to put the game away as they turned the ball over 30 times in the contest. Meanwhile, McAuley had to go to the bench several different times during the half as he struggled with muscle cramps in his right calf. Waubonsee still led by 11 points with 11 minutes left to play when they suddenly went cold. The Chiefs went scoreless for five minutes as the Kougars went on an 11-0 run to tie the game with 5:52 to go. The game was tied twice and the lead changed hands four times over the next four and a half minutes of play.
Trailing 60-59 in the final seconds the Chiefs misfired twice on potential go-ahead shots and were forced to foul with :03.4 left. Kishwaukee's Marshawn Phillips then made both shots from the charity stripe and Waubonsee called timeout. Having to go the length of the court, McAuley wrestled the ensuing inbound pass away from a Kougars' defender two strides short of midcourt. The Aurora West High School product then spun around and launched a 50-foot, desperation shot from beyond half court. The high arching heave banked off the backboard and directly through the rim as the buzzer sounded sending the game into overtime and the large crowd into pandemonium.
In the extra five-minute session the Kougars converted on six of eight free throws en route to out scoring Waubonsee 12-9 to secure the victory. For the game Kishwaukee out scored the Chiefs 26-6 from the foul line, attempting 34 shots to just 10 for the Chiefs. Phillips alone made 11 of 12 free throw attempts, well above his 66 percent season average from the line coming into the game. Waubonsee shot a sizzling 55 percent from three-point range, making 11 shots from beyond the arc.
Besides his scoring, McAuley also blocked four shots, made two steals and was three for three from long range to lead the Chiefs. Cory Adams Jr. was the only other Waubonsee player in double digits, netting a dozen points on four three-point baskets. Jymil Toney snagged a dozen rebounds to help the Chiefs to a 39-31 rebounding advantage for the game. Addison Bode handed out 13 assists, while Koby Johnson dished out four assists and made three steals. Davis got on track in the second half and finished with 24 points to lead Kishwaukee.
The Chiefs are not in action again until Thursday, January 3, 2019 when they head to Aurora University to take on the Spartans' Junior Varsity beginning at 4:30 p.m. (CDT) Waubonsee's next home game is Saturday, January 5 when they host Bryant & Stratton College from Wisconsin. Jim Williams' women's squad battles the Bobcats starting at 1:00 p.m., with Dave Heiss' crew tipping off at 3:00 p.m.