BLOOMINGTON -That is one happy birthday.
Senior Adam Dauksas' regulation heroics miraculously got Illinois Wesleyan to overtime, and Chris Jones' layup on a spectacular Dauksas assist lifted the Titans to an unlikely 88-87 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin victory before a standing room only crowd of 3,000.
"It's my birthday. I can't lose on my birthday," said Dauksas, who turned 22 Saturday. "They definitely made us work for it, but I was not going to let us lose."
Dauksas' 28-foot 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer gave No. 8-ranked Wesleyan (17-3, 7-3 in the CCIW) a chance it didn't appear it would get.
"It's a great win. Adam Dauksas made plays," Titans' coach Scott Trost said. "He found a way. He made a great pass at the end."
That pass came on a baseline drive as Dauksas wrapped the ball around an Elmhurst defender to Jones, who softly banked the ball in with two seconds left in overtime. A desperation heave by Elmhurst's Chris Martin at the buzzer was off the mark.
"I'm so happy. It's not that I can't believe I made it, but I was struggling the whole game," Jones said of his only basket of the game. "It was an amazing pass. I tried to get it up as quick as I can. I'm happy I made it when it counted."
Elmhurst (14-7, 6-4 in the CCIW) led 83-78 in overtime before a Keelan Amelianovich 19-footer and a Dauksas off-balance bank shot brought IWU within one.
A Martin basket and two Dauksas free throws put the score at 85-84 before an Amelianovich driving shot with 36 seconds left put Wesleyan back ahead.
Martin's jumper at the 16-second mark gave the Bluejays an 87-86 edge to set up Dauksas and Jones for an incredible finish.
"I knew they would collapse on me," Dauksas said. "I have all the faith in the world in my guys finishing down low and Chris stepped up big."
Dauksas, who finished with 29 points (21 in the second half and overtime), nailed a huge 3-pointer from the corner with 29 seconds left in overtime to give IWU a 73-72 lead.
Nick Michael's shot put the Bluejays back ahead and after a Cory Jones miss, Martin sank two free throws with five seconds left for a three-point Elmhurst cushion.
Dauksas took the inbounds pass and sprinted downcourt before launching the game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"We said get the ball to Adam and Adam get as far as he can," Trost said. "He made a play."
Amelianovich added 24 points for IWU, and Zach Freeman contributed nine points and 11 rebounds.
Farmer City freshman Brent Ruch had a huge second half and led Elmhurst with 23 points. Martin had 21, Michael 14 and Chris Ihlenfeldt 11.
The Titans were outrebounded for the first time in 26 games dating back to last seasohn, 38-29.