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Men’s Basketball: Pilmer, Adams lift AU to victory

Updated: February 3, 2013 9:49PM

Championship teams find a way to win when they probably should have lost.

Aurora University did just that Wednesday night at Thornton Gym in slipping past lowly Concordia-Chicago, 78-75.

The Spartans (14-5, 9-1 in the Northern Athletics Conference) won because Kyle Pilmer scored on a putback with 17 seconds remaining and Joel Iventosch knocked down two free throws with 7.7 seconds left.

The putback came after Esteban Vega (14 points) missed a jump shot with the Spartans trailing the Cougars (2-16, 2-9), 75-74.

“I was just trying to push one to the basket,” Pilmer said. “We were killing them (46-30) on the boards. I was hoping to get fouled.”

Actually, two Aurora high school products carried the Spartans past what would have been a hard-to-swallow loss. Pilmer (West Aurora) had a career game with 19 points and 10 rebounds and Mark Adams (Aurora Central Catholic) tossed in 16 of his 18 points in the second half.

“A couple guys who aren’t averaging that much stepped up and had nice ball games for us tonight,” AU head coach James Lancaster said.

They were better than that.

AU shot 40 percent (28 of 70) from the field but was a frozen 25 percent (12 of 48) without the combined 16 of 22 from the Pilmer-Adams duo.

Pilmer opened the second half by scoring AU’s first six baskets. He burned the Cougars inside with layups, hooks and putbacks.

“We just knew they were weak inside,” Pilmer said. “We weren’t getting it the first half so we started running more plays to go inside.”

Adams took over the scoring when Pilmer tired. He scored on fade-away jump shots, baseline drives and two huge putbacks. He also dropped a pair of free throws with 56.5 seconds that cut Concordia’s lead to a single point at 75-74.

Still, it was far from a convincing victory.

“It was a tough ball game for us,” Lancaster said. “Concordia always plays us tough; we were in a dogfight to the end. We’re just in a little bit of a lull right now. We have to work it out.”

AU’s defense was also less than dominant. Concordia shot just over 50 percent (29 of 57) and consistently beat the Spartans on dribble-drive to the basket.

That is one of the things the Spartans must work out.

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