Blue Devils lose to buzzer-beater

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 23, 2002

Mid-State's Dustin Sawejka rebounded an airball and put it back with five seconds left, and Curt Peterson's three-pointer rattled out as the Riverland men's basketball team lost its fourth straight, 75-73, Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids.

Sawejka, who finished with 15 points for the host team, broke the tie with his hustle play moments before the buzzer. Riverland (3-7) hurried the ball back up the court but could not convert on its final look at the basket.

"It went in and out, it was down and in," said Riverland coach David Lillemon. "Despite the loss it was a good road game for us."

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Riverland's largest lead of the game came with 5:51 to play when the Blue Devils went up 66-60. A 5-0 run surged the team to the six-point advantage it would eventually lose. Mid-State had 23 offensive rebounds in the comeback win.

"There were a lot of factors," Lillemon said, "but we had our chances to win the game."

Jake Bettis was 10-14 from the floor for a team-leading 23 points, stepping up with his post scoring down the stretch. Andy Stouvenel added 14 points and Kelly Connaughty contributed 12 in the loss.

Stouvenel helped Riverland to a 47-43 advantage on the boards with 12 of his own, and Adam Kasper added nine rebounds and nine points.

The Blue Devils' defense held Mid-State to 36 percent field-goal shooting, including 2-15 from three-point range, while netting 48 percent of their own shots.

Riverland returns to action Jan. 4-5 with a pair of home games against Madison Area Tech and Iowa Lakes. Both games are at 4 p.m., following the women's games, at Riverland Community College in Austin.