The Purdue University Calumet men’s basketball team picked up its third straight home conference victory Saturday afternoon, upsetting No.15 St. Francis (Ill.), the leaders of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference South Division, 74-71.
Junior Ryan Rader (Lombard, Ill./Willowbrook) led all Peregrine scorers, notching his eighth double-double of the season, finishing the night with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Kaspars Brencans (Riga, Latvia/Florida Air Academy) was dominant in the paint, notching 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting, while Aaron Davis (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods) rounded out the Peregrine scorers in double-figures with 13 points and three assists.
St. Francis (20-8, 14-3 CCAC) jumped out to an 18-11 lead early on the first half with just under 13 minutes remaining and maintained its lead for most of the first period.
Purdue Calumet, (14-13, 9-8 CCAC) would end up evening the score after a Dayvohn Braxton (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) jumper tied the game at 27-all with six minutes left in the half.
Both teams would end up trading baskets for the remainder of the period, while the Black and Gold held on to a 38-37 advantage heading in to the break.
The Peregrines began the second half strong with a 47-40 lead in the opening minutes thanks to a three-point play by Rader, before jumping out to their largest lead of the game, 58-48, with just over 10 minutes remaining.
St. Francis fought back to regain the lead with just under five minutes left, after Edvinas Presniakovas knocked down a pair of free throws to give the Fighting Saints their first lead of the half, 63-62.
A three-point play by Braxton on a huge offensive rebound and putback seemed to be a big momentum boost for the Peregrines, as they took a 69-65 lead with two minutes left in the period. The Fighting Saints would battle back to cut the Peregrines lead to just one, after a clutch three-point field goal by Ilya Ilyayev and a free throw by Matt Sherrif made the score 72-71 with just 17 seconds remaining.
Darric Obinger (Munster, Ind./Calumet Christian) would connect on one of two free throws, making the score 73-71, before Danny Paschen (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) knocked down 1-of-2 free throws in the waning seconds of the game to give the Peregrines a 74-71 advantage, and one final play for the Fighting Saints.
St. Francis couldn’t get a shot off in the last second of play, thanks to the length of Paschen swatting down the inbounds pass as time expired to seal the victory for the Black and Gold.
Purdue Calumet finished the contest 55.6 percent (30-54) from the field compared to 52.3 percent (23-44) for the Fighting Saints, while winning the battle on the boards, 31-20 and finishing the night with a 50-34 advantage in the paint.
The Peregrines return to action Wednesday, Feb. 18, as they travel to Whiting, Ind. to take on rival Calumet St. Joseph in a CCAC contest beginning at 7 p.m.