AURORA, Ill. - Kalmon Stokes hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to lead Aurora to a 55-52 victory over the MSOE men's basketball team Saturday afternoon at Thornton Gymnasium.
The Raiders (9-9, 5-6 NACC) led 33-22 at halftime, but saw the first-place Spartans (15-4, 13-2 NACC) storm back in the second half and claim the victory at the buzzer.
What began as a lopsided game in favor of MSOE, became a nail-biter down the stretch. The Raiders scored nine-straight points to retake the lead at 52-50 with 3:27, but would not score again. AU then leveled the game at 52-50 on a Stokes layup with 1:52 on the clock.
The teams alternated missed shots until the Spartans got the ball with 22 seconds remaining and held for the last shot. Stokes then hit his three with under a second on the clock.
This is the second-straight meeting between the teams at Thornton Gymnasium to be settled at the buzzer, as junior Austin Stueck beat the final horn with a halfcourt shot last season to secure a 78-75 victory for MSOE.
Stueck led the Raiders on this day with 22 points and eight rebounds. Junior Connor Patterson added 11 points and nine boards.
Stokes finished with 13 points to lead Aurora. Kyle Pilmer was the only other player in double-figues, scoring 11.
The Raiders limited the Spartans to 22.6 percent shooting in the field half in building a double-digit advantage. They turned a 9-8 lead at 14:25 into a 24-10 lead less than five minutes later with a 15-2 run. They kept the lead in double-digits going into halftime.
Aurora began to chip away at the deficit after the break, oping the second half with a 12-2 run. Then, trailing 40-35 at 13:43, the home side limited MSOE to just one made field goal in almost eight minutes during a 15-3 stretch of its own. That run gave AU the 50-43 lead and set up the back-and-forth final minutes.
The Red & White finished the game shooting just 34.6 percent, having endured a 21.7 percent shooting clip in the second half. The Spartans shot 43.3 percent after halftime to finish the game just above 30 percent at 32.8.
The Raiders return to the floor on the road at Edgewood Tuesday.