Susquehanna falls in the final second of OT to Wilkes

WILKES-BARRE, PA -- A good Wilkes layup with 0.2 seconds of overtime remaining would lead to an ecstatic hometown crowd and long bus trip home for the Crusaders.

With the game knotted on 14 separate occasions, Susquehanna's largest lead being eight and the Colonels' five, the stats speak for themselves; it was a neck-in-neck game on Wednesday night in the Marts Center.

For the first eight and the final seven minutes of the first half, the scoreboard favored the visiting Crusaders who held a 33-29 advantage at the half.

The second half could be described as the heart of a physically intense game. Thirty-five personal fouls were committed and 46 charity shots were taken in the midst of the second 20-minute stint.

Down by five, Susquehanna would use 10 straight points by Josh Robinson (Mahwah, N.J./River Dell) to take a 58-53 lead with 5:19 to play in the second half. Wilkes responded by out-scoring the Crusaders 7-2 in the final 2:43 minutes to force the additional period. It was a drive by Wilkes' Chris Gulla with one-second lingering in regulation that tied the game at 65 to send the Crusaders into their third OT game of the season.

In the extra session Susquehanna took a 67-65 lead at the 3:31 mark when Joel Patch (Conklin, N.Y./Susquehanna Valley) scored off an assist from Brad Okonak (Lebanon, Pa./Lebanon). Wilkes would tie the game when John Defeo grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to make it 67-67. Defeo was fouled on the next possession for the Colonels and converted a pair of free throws with 2:40 left.

Wilkes would sink two additional free throws before Kevin Cuff (Pottsville, Pa./Nativity B.V.M.) drilled a three-pointer with 1:04 left to cut the deficit to one. After Matt Gould hit one-of-two free throws with 35 seconds remaining to make it a 72-70 game, Hunter McKain (Ligonier, Pa./Shady Side Academy) scored inside with 19 seconds left to tie the game at 72 each.

Wilkes dwindled the last seconds of time getting the ball into Steve Kline who got a shot off in the paint to put the Colonels on top 74-72 with less than a second left. Susquehanna was unable to get a shot off in the final tenths of a second enabling the Colonels to remain undefeated.

For the Crusaders Robinson lead the game with 22 points followed by Bryan Majors (Harrisburg, Pa./Harrisburg) with 12 and Cuff recording his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Patch also tallied 9 points and 11 boards for the orange and maroon.

Wilkes, who had five players score twin-figures, was led by Gulla with 19 points.

The Crusaders (3-2) were 41.5 percent from the field, 36 percent from beyond the arch and 79.2 percent from the line compared to the Colonels' (3-0) 36.8, 15.4 and 71.4 percent respectively.