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Cougars Take Huge Win vs. Nationally Ranked Northland
(1/21/10) Clearwater, FL- The Cougars battled to a huge win 72-71 over Northland International University on a last second tip-in by sophomore Todd Wahlberg. The Pioneers came into the game ranked #9 nationally in the most recent NCCAA D2 rankings.
From the start of the game, the Cougars came out with great intensity, buoyed on by a great supportive crowd, to take a double digit lead. The Cougars shot the ball well from downtown, draining 6 of 11 3’s in the first half. Troy Hadlock led the Cougars with 11 points in the first half, including a running 3 pointer at the halftime buzzer to put the Cougars up 42-32 going into the half.
The Pioneers stormed back in the second half, going on an 11-2 run to start the half, closing the margin to 1. The Cougars answered back and were able to maintain the lead throughout most of the 2nd half. Late in the game, Northland got hot from 3 point land and stormed ahead to take a 3 point lead with a minute to go. But Todd Wahlberg responded, hitting a huge 3 from the top of the key to tie the game at 70. After Northland had gone up by one on a free throw by Daniel Dorn, the Cougars had 1 last possession to try and win the game. Bryan Copeland penetrated through the Northland defense but was unable to make the layup, but Todd Wahlberg once again came through big with the dramatic tip-in to put the Cougars ahead with 1.8 seconds remaining. The Pioneers had 1 more chance to win the game, but Nathan Pettit's 3-point shot was short as time expired and the Cougars celebrated the dramatic win.
After the game, Coach Champion had this to say about the Cougar win, “It was a huge win for us against a nationally ranked opponent. We got off to a great start, and strong rebounding down the stretch proved to be crucial to the victory.”
Clearwater outrebounded Northland by a 40-28 margin for the game. Todd Wahlberg led the Cougars in scoring with 14 points, and Lonzo Saunders added 12. Bryan Spears played great post defense and added 12 rebounds for the Cougars.
Clearwater will be in action again on Friday at 7 p.m. against Trinity Baptist College.
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