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updated: 1/16/2013 11:49 PM

Harper works OT for win against Wright

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By Jonathan Cregier

What many hoped would be an easy Harper College men's basketball victory turned out to be anything but.

Still, the Hawks collected their first North Central Community College Conference victory of the season at the Sports and Wellness Center in Palatine -- the hard way, defeating Wright College 75-72 in overtime Wednesday.

The game looked like it would be a hotly contested afair early. The Hawks took command early after going on an 11-2 run, which gave them a lead in double figures.

"There were a couple of possessions when we got mixed up on the switch, and they hurt us with it," said Wright coach Michael Harris.

Garett Gatz (Conant), Tyler Gaedele (Rolling Meadows) and Connor Miklasz (Hersey) combined for 10 of Harper's 11 3-point makes.

"We play well here," Gatz said of the team's shooting proficiency at home. "It was one of those nights where shots were going down.

"There just happened to be guys open at the right time."

The second half was a different story.

Harper had a 12-point advantage midway though the second half when Wright started to find some answers.

A free throw from Darius Randolph (game-high 22 points) finished a 9-0 run that gave giving the visitors a brief 63-61 lead.

"We finally played together as a unit," Harris said of his team's second-half surge.

"It was a struggle," Hawks coach Tony Amarino said of his team's energy level.

After regulation finished at 68-68, the Harper defense made the difference in overtime as the Hawks held the Rams to 5 points in the extra five minutes.

A late timeout taken by Amarino turned out to be key as a play designed for Gatz yielded a 3-pointer.

"I was wide open," said Gatz. "I'm expected to hit that shot."

Gatz led the way for Harper with 21 points. Miklasz finished with 15 and Gaedele had 12.

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