Monday, February 21, 2011

Prairie Stars finish strong

After struggling through the season, the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball team needed something to hang its hat on.

UIS found it in the final two games of the season. The Prairie Stars’ season came full circle Saturday as they won 78-70 in the finale against the Lewis Flyers at The Recreation and Athletic Center.
On the heels of an 85-79 win over Wisconsin-Parkside on Thursday, the victory gave UIS (8-17 overall, 4-14 in the GLVC) back-to-back victories for the first time since winning their first two games of the season.

“It was a team effort,” UIS coach Ben Wierzba said. “Right down the line, I’m just so proud of those guys that they stayed with it. They kept competing the whole year.”

The difference is the Stars made plays — big plays — in the final two games of the season.

UIS led by as many as 11 points in the second half against Lewis. Despite playing without its leading scorer, Lewis mounted a comeback and got within 61-58 on a layup by Matt Toth with 4 minutes left.

Back-to-back three-point plays by junior forward Michael Fakuade and junior guard Jermaine Love-Roberts sparked the Stars and gave them a 69-60 lead with 2:37 left.

The win was featured in a February 20, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article