RIVER FOREST, Ill. – When it comes to conference games on the road, there is no such thing as an easy victory. The Edgewood College men's basketball team found that out on Saturday afternoon at Concordia University Chicago. The Eagles earned as much as a 12-point advantage, but had to hang on for the 60-56 victory to keep their perfect 7-0 record intact.
Leading 6-5 early in the first half, the Eagles used a pair of runs to separate from the Cougars. Ben Wisniewski made a layup and drained three-point basket before Kent Faurote threw down a dunk to put the Eagles up 13-5 with 12:33 left in the first half. After a pair of Cougar free throws, the Eagles went on a 6-0 run. Cashton Craig nailed a jump shot while Faurote and Dylan Rusch closed the run with two free throws apiece to extend the lead to 19-7 with 11:06 remaining in the first half.
Concordia Chicago (1-5, 1-2 NAC) drilled a pair of three-point shots, around a Luke Thein jumper from the middle of the paint to cut the deficit to 21-15 with just under nine minutes left in the first stanza. The Cougars then used a 6-2 run to cut the deficit to 29-25 with 3:33 left in the first half after a pair of Issa Avery free throws. However, Joe Klocek answered with a three-point basket to extend the lead back to seven points. After a Jake Guziewski layup, Concordia Chicago's Khirey Floyd drained a triple with 20 seconds left in the half to make the halftime score 35-29.
The Eagles (7-0, 2-0 NAC) quickly extended their lead to 10 in the second half when Derek Nkemnji made a couple free throws with just under 17 minutes to play. From that point on, the game was played within a nine point margin as the Cougars answered with a 9-2 run. Taylor Rawlings made it a one possession game when he made a layup with just under 14 minutes left to make the score 43-40.
However, Nkemnji answered as he drilled a three-point basket with the shot clock running down to end the run and put the Eagles back up by six points. After Rawlings cut the deficit to three again, Nkemnji sparked a quick 5-0 spurt with a jump shot. Thein followed with a free throw and Faurote made the score 51-43 with 10:02 remaining when Nkemnji set him up for a fast break layup.
Wisniewski extended the Eagle lead back to nine with just more than six minutes left when he drained a jumper before four straight Cougar points. With 2:13 left, Nkemnji found a wide open Faurote under the basket where Faurote made a layup to push the lead back to three possessions at 58-51. Trailing 58-53, Concordia Chicago had a chance to make it a one possession game, but Nkemnji blocked Keegan Johnson's layup with 50 second left to give the ball back to the Eagles. Guziewski got fouled and sank both free throws to give the Eagles a 60-53 lead.
However, the Cougars didn't quit as Rawlings dropped a three-point basket on the next possession to make the score 60-56 with 38 second left. With 10 second left, Faurote blocked a Cougar three-point attempt and the Cougars missed their next two chances as the Eagles escaped Geiseman Gymnasium with the 60-56 victory.
Faurote led the Eagles with 14 points and eight rebounds, while Wisniewski scored 12 points. Nkemnji chipped in with 11 points, and added six rebounds and five assists. The Eagles shot 42.6 percent (20-for-47) from the floor while going 4-for-14 (28.6 percent) from three-point range.
Concordia Chicago out rebounded the Eagles 54-31 in the loss, but shot 32.8 percent (22-for-67) from the floor. Charles Gordon led the Cougars with 16 points.
Edgewood College will next be in action when they travel to Lakeland College on Wednesday night. Tip off from Sheboygan is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.