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Joey Burris(So.-Kiel, Wis.) scored a career high 36 points, Brandon Ware (So.-Milwaukee, Wis.) recorded a triple-double in his debut and the Lakeland College men's basketball team opened its season with a classic, holding on to defeat Lake Forest College 113-112 in triple overtime Friday night at Woltzen Gymnasium.
The Muskies came back from a four-point deficit with 34 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. Lakeland then withstood shoddy free throw shooting and one comeback after another from the Foresters in the overtime periods to win the season opener for both teams.
The Foresters overcame deficits in all three overtime periods, and nearly won the game after trailing by six with less than 30 seconds left in the third OT. The game wasn't over until Lake Forest's Austin Terry was called for traveling with two seconds left in the third overtime period while trying to push the ball into the lane for a final shot, and Justin Ward (Jr.-Wisconsin Dells, Wis.) hauled in a long inbounds pass, allowing time to expire.
With both teams worn out after nearly three hours of play, Lakeland jumped out to a six-point lead twice in the final overtime, the second time after Ware hit the second of two free throws with 36 seconds left. The Foresters hit a pair of three-pointers, though, and normally reliable Jake Schwarz (Sr.-Sheboygan, Wis.) missed three of four free throws to give the visitors a chance in the final seconds.
Both teams had rallies late in the game, starting with the Muskies coming back from being down 83-79 in the final minute of regulation. Ware got in the lane for a layup with 29 seconds left, and Lakeland forced a backcourt turnover to get the ball back. Ware got his shot blocked, but got it back and found Ward underneath for a tying dunk with two seconds left to send the game to overtime.
The Muskies led by three at 92-89 after two free throws by Ware with 29 seconds left in the first overtime, but Jeff Beck hit a clutch three-pointer with 14 seconds to go to tie it. Ware's final jumper was off the mark, sending the game to a second overtime. Lakeland again led by three with 41 seconds left in the second extra session after a jumper by Burris and a free throw by Ware, but the Foresters clawed back again and tied it when Beck was fouled with 1.5 seconds left and hit both free throws to send the game to a third overtime.
Burris showed the way for the Muskies in the first half, topping his career high in the first 20 minutes and pleasing a large crowd from his hometown on Kiel Community Night. The sophomore scored 18 points as the Muskies shot 51.4% in the first half in taking a 47-43 lead into the break.
The teams were tied 17 times in the game and swapped the lead 12 times. Neither team led by more than seven points, the largest lead coming early after Schwarz hit a jumper for an 18-11 Lakeland lead with 13:17 left in the first half.
Burris shot 13 of 22 from the field, including 5-for-10 from three-point range. Ware posted big numbers with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists in his first game for Lakeland and also turned the ball over just two times.
Schwarz had an off night shooting, making 10 of 27 field goals and four of eight free throws, but still finished with 27 points and nine rebounds while playing 53 minutes. Ward finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots and hit two of the team's 14 three-pointers. The Muskies shot 41 of 94 for the game (43.6%) and made 14 of 36 from beyond the three-point arc, but just 17 of 31 free throw attempts (54.8%).
Beck finished with 30 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for Lake Forest, which finished 20-4 last year but lost four starters from a year ago. Brian Madson totaled 24 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks and Jordan Gipson added 15 points and seven assists. The Foresters shot 44.4% (40 of 90) and out-rebounded the Muskies 61-50 but committed 25 turnovers to Lakleland's 12.
The Muskies return to the court Tuesday night when they travel to face Beloit College in Beloit at 7 p.m.