(Sugar Grove, IL) – Coming off a heart-breaking and frustrating double overtime loss two nights ago at the College of Lake County, Waubonsee Community College's men's basketball team needed a win to at least retain a share of first place in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) standings. Instead the Chiefs looked tired in the second half as visiting Prairie State College pulled away for an 81-67 victory. The loss drops Waubonsee's ISCC record to 4-2 and knocks them out of a first place tie with Moraine Valley Community College, while the Pioneers improve to 4-2 in league play.
Waubonsee (14-8) began the game with a 9-0 run prompting Prairie State (14-7) to call timeout two and half minutes into the contest. Behind their All-American candidate Jared Johnson, the Pioneers regrouped and erupted with a 14-2 run to take the lead. Johnson, the top scorer in the nation among all NJCAA Division II players coming into the game, scored 11 of the 14 points highlighted by making three shots from beyond the arc.
The Pioneers led 18-16 midway through the first half before extending their lead to 12 points with a 10-0 run over the next three minutes. The Chiefs responded with an 8-0 run to get within six points at 30-24 with four minutes left until the halftime. However, neither team scored over the next three minutes of play as the Chiefs' defense forced three shot clock violations. Prairie State eventually went to the locker room with a 36-29 lead.
A rejuvenated Chiefs' team battled back and tied the game at 43-all just four minutes into the second half on a three-pointer by Asa Williams. After another Pioneers' timeout the visitors gradually built a 61-52 lead midway through the second half. Prairie State then kept the Chiefs at bay as Waubonsee never got closer than seven points the rest of the way. Johnson, averaging 29.3 points-per-game entering the evening, then put the icing on the cake with a long trey from the top of the key with 0:45 left to give the Pioneers their biggest lead of the night at 81-64.
Simeon Strauss led Waubonsee with 15 points and five assists. D.J. Ellis nearly booked this third triple-double of the season as he booked 13 points, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out nine assists. Caleb Siler also netted 13 points and dished out three assists, while Cory Adams Jr. and Courtney Fields each finished with nine points. Johnson led all scorers with a game-high 32 points to go along with 17 rebounds for the Pioneers. For the game Prairie State out rebounded the Chiefs 45-29 and made 19 of 25 foul shots, while Waubonsee was just 7 of 9 from the line.
The Chiefs are in action again next Tuesday, January 28 when they host Elgin Community College at 7:15 p.m. (CDT) in another ISCC match up. Waubonsee's women's are set to take on the Spartans at 5:15 p.m. (CDT). Both those game can be seen 'live' on-line at www.GoChiefs.com and www.Waubonsee.edu/LiveSports