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Late miscues sting Wildcats in OT

Late miscues sting Wildcats in OT

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NORMAL — With precious seconds winding down in overtime and Normal West holding the ball for a game-winning shot Friday, a boisterous home crowd felt the officials were a little quick on the count in calling a five-second violation against the Wildcats.

So did members of the West coaching staff — prompting a technical foul on the bench that allowed Danville to come away with a 38-36 Big 12 Conference victory.

The incident and outcome spoiled a "Senior Night" celebration that saw West guard Zach Breen set a school record for 3-pointers in a season.

Breen's 3 at the 4:08 mark of the first quarter was his 68th of the season and launched West on a comeback from an early 8-0 deficit.

"We started off behind and even though we got the lead at the half, we were just always kind of battling from behind," said West coach Brian Cupples, whose team was paced by Josh Robinson's 14 points. "We never could really get control of the game."

Robinson's conventional three-point play and his buzzer beating 3 from the top of the circle put west (9-19, 5-11) in front. A pair of second quarter 3s by Breen helped stretch the lead to 24-18 at halftime, Maurice Hayden's rebound basket barely beating the clock.

Danville (8-16, 5-11) seized the advantage after intermission as West barely averted a scoreless quarter when Breen intercepted a Vikings pass in the closing seconds and drove the length of the court to cut pull West to within 30-26.

Robinson tied the game at 30-30 on a pair of free throws early in the fourth, then knotted it again at 32-32 on two more free throws with 26 seconds left in regulation.

With Danville holding for the last shot, Robinson made a steal in the lane and drove to the other end. But Danville's Denzell Smith challenged his layup, which rolled off the rim at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

Smith, who had a game-high 16 points, hit a tying 3-pointer with 1:25 left in OT before West took the pivotal 5-second call with 29.4 on the clock. Smith hit one of two free throws and Victor Askew was fouled on the insuing inbounds play.

After Askew missed both free throws, Robinson grabbed the rebound to give West a chance. Breen's shot from the right corner with 2.2 left missed but went out of bounds to the Wildcats. Askew was fouled intercepting the inbounds pass and made one free throw for the final margin.

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