RIVER FOREST, Ill. - It surely didn't feel like the Concordia University Wisconsin men's basketball team could find a way to win, but when a big moment was needed an unlikely hero emerged. Brian Jackson drained a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds to play capping a career night and sending the Falcons past host Concordia University Chicago, 66-65, at the 2012 Concordia Invitational Tournament.
CUW trailed for 13-plus minutes in the second half and at one point was down 10 points with six minutes to play at Geiseman Gymnasium. Following a CUC layup to take a two-point lead, Paluchniak (Oostburg, Wis.) received the inbounds pass, drove the length of the floor and found Jackson in the right corner. The junior forward drilled a contested game-winning 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds to play.
Prior to the most exciting portion of the contest, the Falcons chipped away at six-point deficit with a pair of free throws by Luke Doedens (Cedarburg, Wis.), another free throw by Paluchniak and an all-important game-tying triple from the right corner by Nick Doedens (Germantown, Wis.) with 30 seconds to play.
On the ensuing possession, CUC's Charles Gordon drove to the bucket for a left-handed layup with nine seconds to play. After Jackson's long ball, the Cougars nearly sank a half-court triple that banged off the front end of the rim, but they fell short in the end.
Jackson (Carol Stream, Ill.) finished with a game- and career-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including three 3-pointers. He also stole three passes, grabbed three rebounds and assisted on two field goals. Senior Luke Doedens (Cedarburg, Wis.) concluded the victory with 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Freshman Ben Brooke (Viroqua, Wis.) scored 10 points, while senior Erik Condia (Orange, Calif.) added eight points and hauled in seven rebounds, three offensive.
"Tonight was an incredible win," head coach Shawn Cassidy said. "We want to thank all the fans for coming down to watch us."
Gordon scored a team-high 19 points on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting for the Cougars. Issa Avery added 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Overall, CUC held a slim 32-28 lead in paint scoring and a 24-18 advantage in bench production. CUW scored 19 points off 16 Cougar miscues.
The first half was see-saw battle that featured 10 lead changes and four scoring ties. As expected with neither team taking control, the score at the intermission was 32-32. Jackson scored a career-high-tying 15 points at the break on 6-of-8 shooting.
CUW will battle Concordia University Nebraska on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. for the CIT Championship trophy. The Falcons are looking to duplicate their 2008 and 2010 CIT runs.
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