Senior forward Danny Sotos led lake Forest with 22 points and scored the winning basket with 2.5 seconds remaining in a 73-69 victory at Ripon College Thursday night.
Sotos shot 9-for-13 from the field and made three of five attempts from three-point range. He also grabbed eight rebounds, none more important than the one at the offensive end following a blocked shot in the final few seconds of the contest with the score tied at 69.
Junior guard Sam Husting led the Foresters and matched his career-high with nine rebounds and he connected on five of eight three-pointers for 15 points. Senior guard Jordan Moran also reached double figures with 14 points and shot 6-for-8 from the floor. The team's leading scorer on the season, sophomore guard Sean Espnosa, scored just six points but also dished out six assists, one fewer than freshman guard Tashon Brown.
Lake Forest shot 50.9 percent from the floor and 9-for-17 from beyond the arc. Despite shooting just 42.9 percent from the field, Ripon was able to stay in the game thanks to a slight 35-34 edge in rebounds and a 15-9 advantage in turnovers forced.
A Sotos three-pointer five minutes into the game gave the Foresters an 11-9 lead and they never trailed again. The margin reached 10 points before shrinking back down to two with 3:51 remaining in the first half. Lake Forest closed out the period on a 10-2 run and led 42-32 at halftime.
The Forester lead reached a game-high 14 points after a pair of Espinosa free throws less than 30 seconds into the second half but Ripon quickly closed to within three. A Red Hawk three-pointer made it a one-point game at 51-50 with 10:48 to play but Husting answered with one of his own 25 on the next possession and a jumper by Lake Forest junior guard Aram Arslanian on the next trip down the court extended the lead to six. Back-to-back baskets by the home team made the score 56-54 and the difference fluctuated between one and four points until, with just 10 seconds on the clock, a pair of Ripon free throws tied the score at 69. Espinosa was able to get into the lane for a potential winning basket but the shot was blocked. The ball went directly to Sotos, who laid it in for the winning points. After a timeout, the Red Hawks attempted a long in-bound pass that Espinosa intercepted. He was fouled with 0.2 seconds on the clock and hit both free throws to close out the scoring.
The victory was the third in row for the Foresters, who are now 13-7 overall and 9-4 in Midwest Conference play this season. Ripon fell to 11-9 overall and 7-6 in the league.
After three straight road games, Lake Forest will look to complete a season sweep of Beloit College at home on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.