Cerroni's Game-Winning Three Ends Overtime Thriller
CHICAGO, Ill. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - It was a happy homecoming for head coach Brian Wardle and a number of Green Bay players from Chicago, but it was a Wisconsin native that drained a game-winning three-pointer for the Phoenix. Sophomore Kam Cerroni (Sussex, Wis.) sank a triple with 0.4 seconds to play in overtime off a beautiful feed from Steve Baker (St. Paul, Minn.) to give Green Bay (14-14, 9-8 HL) a 73-70 victory over Loyola (7-21, 1-16 HL) on Thursday night at Gentile Arena.
Cerroni's triple came at the conclusion of an exciting overtime period that featured three ties and three lead changes, a fitting end for a back and forth game that included 18 lead changes.
Junior Brennan Cougill (Sioux City, Iowa), who had a team-high 19 points to go with nine rebounds, knocked down a three-pointer with 22 seconds left to give the Phoenix a 70-69 lead.
A foul on Cougill with eight seconds left put Loyola's Ben Averkamp on the line with a chance to win it. Averkamp, who had 26 points and 10 rebounds, made the first to tie but saw his second fall off the rim.
Cougill found Baker with an outlet pass, and the senior drove hard down the right side all the way to the bucket before finding Cerroni on the left wing with a drift pass. The sophomore, who is leading the Horizon League in three-point percentage, drained the shot for Green Bay's fourth-straight win and seventh in its last nine games.
Cerroni had given the Phoenix a four-point lead (63-59) with 24 seconds to play in regulation, but Averkamp scored on a putback with 10 ticks left. Sophomore Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Averkamp tipped in a shot at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
Draining 3-of-5 triples, Cerroni finished with nine points and drained a three for the 17th game in a row he has hit a shot from long range.
Brown had 10 points and seven rebounds at the half in helping Green Bay to a 31-26 halftime lead, but the Ramblers scored the first six points of the second half and it was a back-and-forth game from there.
With 18 points and 12 rebounds, Brown tallied his seventh double-double this season. The sophomore also posted five blocked shots to raise his single-season Phoenix record to 86 blocks.
Two days after playing 40 minutes in a 71-67 victory over Cleveland State, freshman Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) tallied a team-high 41 in Thursday's affair. The Chicago native reached double figures for the ninth game in a row with 13 points, but maybe more importantly had seven of his eight assists after halftime.
Cerroni, Baker and Cougill each hit three triples as Green Bay knocked down 9-of-14 three-point attempts. The Phoenix hit 64.3 percent of its threes (9-14), the ninth-best three-point shooting effort in Green Bay history. The team shot 46.7 percent from the floor.
Green Bay will stay in Chicago to play its regular season finale at UIC on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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