AURORA – Kaneland somehow survived losing a 15-point lead, losing its leading scorer to five fouls, and missing a shot on its final possession of the game Tuesday to escape Marmion’s Alumni Hall with a 49-47 nonconference victory.
The Knights (9-5) led 37-22 with two minutes left in the third quarter, but the Cadets (7-10) went on a 15-1 run over the next three minutes to pull within one. Marmion tied the game at 47 with 48 seconds left on a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Michael Sheehan.
Kaneland took a timeout to draw up a play for the last shot and point guard Drew David found senior Ty Carlson on a back-door cut. Carlson missed the shot, but was able to grab the rebound on the other side of the rim.
“Coach [Brian] Johnson had a great play call there,” Carlson said. “Drew made a great pass. I missed the first one but I jumped back and got the second one.”
The “second one” came from the free-throw line as Carlson was fouled on the rebound. He hit a pair of free throws with 1.3 seconds left to give Kaneland the win.
“Ty’s been clutch all year long,” Johnson said. “It really started at [the] Plano [Christmas Classic] when he’s been feeling it and it’s kind of rolled all the way through. He made some big free throws and was playing a position and a play we usually run for John [Pruett] and he was able to execute on that.”
Carlson actually scored the last seven points of the game for the Knights, all on free throws, so he wasn‘t feeling any trepidation stepping to the line with the game in the balance.
“I felt pretty confident,” Carlson said. “Once I hit the first one and we got the lead, it felt pretty good.”
Kaneland needed Carlson to step up because Pruett fouled out with four minutes left in the game after scoring 16 points.
“The first three quarters we played really hard and John Pruett was outstanding in my opinion,” Johnson said. “When he goes, we look pretty good, and I challenged him today and he stepped up. I’m very proud of how he responded.”
Marmion struggled out of the gate, falling behind 8-0. The Cadets went scoreless for the first five minutes and the only 5 points they scored in the first quarter came from senior guard Michael Murphy off the bench. Marmion didn’t get any points from a starter until Tyler Maryanski’s steal and jam midway through the second quarter.