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updated: 12/4/2013 10:47 PM

Streaking Harper makes it seven straight wins

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By Jonathan Cregier

Having started the season with one kind of streak, the Harper College men's basketball team was happy to extend another kind Wednesday.

After dropping its first three contests early this season, the Hawks have surged to seven straight wins following an 81-64 victory over Olivet Nazarene's JV team at the Sports and Wellness Center in Palatine.

Kevin Walsh (St. Viator) led the way for Harper with 22 points, and Brad Reibel (Prospect) had 11.

Absent for the contest was head coach Tony Amarino, who was attending to a family emergency.

"Tonight we faced a little adversity, not having our head coach," said assistant coach Cliff McSwine.

The opponent also provided some challenges, as Harper saw a 24-13 lead with 6:12 remaining in the first half become a 45-34 deficit with 15:45 left in the game.

"Once we turned it on defensively, we got some easy buckets and the momentum changed," said Walsh, a team co-captain.

And that defensive effort seemed to make all the difference.

"The guys showed a lot of character, a lot of heart," McSwine said. "If we aspire to be a championship team, this is the type of effort it's going to take."

The current streak includes victories over a pair of previously undefeated teams. On Tuesday, Harper topped Olive-Harvey College, which had been 5-0, 79-72. And on Nov. 23, the Hawks beat the team then ranked No. 7 in the NJCAA Division III national rankings, South Suburban College, 83-72.

Despite Harper's 0-3 start, sophomore forward Michael Rose (Rolling Meadows) knew the team would turn things around.

"This streak is huge for us," he said.

The Hawks look to extend the streak Tuesday when Oakton Community College (4-5) visits the Sports and Wellness Center for a 7 p.m. tip.

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