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Coe wins league title in thrilling fashion
Coe News
The Kohawk men's basketball team celebrates their Iowa Conference Championship.
The Kohawk men's basketball team celebrates their Iowa Conference Championship.
Men's Basketball - Sat, Feb. 18, 2012

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Junior David Mataloni (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale) hit a 3-pointer with :04.5 to play, sending the game to overtime, before Coe outscored the Norse 20-13 in the extra frame, for the 78-71 win, clinching the league title.

The two teams went back-and-forth in the first half until junior Nathan Joens (Swisher, Iowa/Xavier) hit a 3-pointer and sophomore Andrew Wirth (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls) hit three-straight free throws to give Coe a 17-11 lead with 10:03 left in the first half.  Luther tied the game with a 6-0 run and a layup by Dane Larson with 2:33 left in the first half.  Coe led 24-23 at the break.

Luther hit back-to-back jumpers in the first minute of the second half to take a 27-24 lead, but Coe answered with a 6-0 run to regain the lead.  With 15:14 to play, Brian Nnaoji hit a layup to spark a 9-0 run by the Norse in the next 2:26, as Luther led 41-33 with 12:48 to play.  It was the largest lead of the game for the Norse.  Coe was able to cut the lead to one with 3:28 to play and 2:26 to play, but Luther's John Androus hit four free throws in less than :13 to to put the Luther lead back to five with 1:45 to play.

With :29 to play, Wirth hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 56-55.  After free throws by Dane Larson and Tim Merritt, Coe trailed by three with :17 to play.  With :04.5 on the clock, Mataloni hit a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.  Prior to the shot, Mataloni, Coe's leading scorer, was just 1-for-13 from the field and 0-for-4 from 3-point range.  

Junior Seth Light (Carlisle, Iowa/Carlisle) hit a pair of free throws just :13 into overtime to give Coe a 60-58 lead.  On the next two scores, Light threw down two monster dunks that sent the crowd of 1,182 at Eby Fieldhouse into a frenzy, as the Kohawks took a 64-58 lead with 2:47 to play.  A pair of free throws from junior Garrett Cross (Spring Grove, Minn./Spring Grove) and a jumper from Mataloni gave Coe a 68-58 lead with 1:34 to play.  

Luther's Michael Crocker hit a layup to cut the lead to eight, but four-straight free throws from Mataloni and Joens gave Coe a 72-60 lead with :58 to play, its largest lead of the game.  Luther scored a layup at the buzzer, but the outcome was already decided as the Kohawks finished with a 78-71 win.

Light led the Kohawks with a game-high 22 points.  Wirth added 13 points, while Mataloni and Cross each had 11.  Joens finished with a game-high 10 rebounds, breaking his previous career best of seven.  Light grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots, as he moved into a tie for fourth on the career blocked shots list with 65.  Androus led the Norse with 22 points, as he was 14-of-19 from the free throw line.

Freshman JT Vonderhaar (Bettendorf, Iowa/Assumption) and Mataloni led Coe with two assists, a career-high for Vonderhaar.  

The Kohawks will be the number one seed in next week's Iowa Conference Tournament.  After a bye on Tuesday, Coe will host either fourth-seeded Central or fifth-seeded Luther.  Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m., following the women's semifinal game.