Junior forward Danny Sotos finished with 19 points and a team-high seven rebounds to help lead the Lake Forest College men's basketball team to a 72-70 victory over Monmouth College at home on Wednesday.
Sotos shot 7-for-14 from the field and made four of five attempts from the free throw line. His 19 points were matched by senior guard Eric Porter, who connected six times in nine tries from three-point range. Senior forward Orlando Brown also reached double figures with 14 points in just 20 minutes and was 6-for-7 from the field, raising his shooting percentage on the season to .671. Freshmen point guards Sean Espinosa and Sam Husting shared the team lead in assists with four apiece.
After shooting just 40 percent from the floor in the first half, the Foresters knocked down 54.2 percent of their field goal attempts in the second to finish at 45.8. They were also 9-for-21 from beyond the arc and 9-for-13 from the foul line. Monmouth finished at 44.3 percent from the field and was6-for-18 from long range and 10-for-14 on free throws. Lake Forest had a 38-30 edge in rebounds but committed 11 turnovers while forcing just six.
The first half featured five lead changes, the last on a three-pointer by Porter which gave the Foresters a 29-27 lead with 3:15 to play. The home team led by as many as six points and Monmouth by three in the period, which ended with Lake Forest holding a slim 34-32 lead.
The final 20 minutes were even closer than the first, with neither team leading by more than four points in the half. Monmouth regained the lead early on but a three-pointer by Sotos put Lake Forest back on top by a point with 14 minutes left. It was the first of seven lead changes in a 10-minute span with a jumper by Sotos and three-pointers by Porter and Brown also regaining the lead for the Foresters. Brown's shot from the right corner was part of an 8-0 run that turned a four-point deficit into a lead of the same size for the home team with less than four minutes to play. Monmouth eventually came back and tied the score at 68 with 1:29 remaining but a free throw by Brown with 1:07 on the clock put the Foresters on top for good. After getting a stop on defense and running down the play clock, Porter drove to the basket but missed. Brown pulled down the rebound and scored to make the score 71-68 with just 10.7 seconds remaining. Monmouth hit a pair of free throws with 4.4 ticks left and fouled Porter three seconds later. He made the first free throw and missed the second intentionally but the ball went out of bounds untouched, giving the Fighting Scots one more chance. A three-pointer from their leading scorer on the season was blocked by Brown to secure the victory.
Both teams entered the contest tied with St. Norbert College atop the Midwest Conference standings at 4-0 in league play. The Foresters improved to 9-3 overall while Monmouth fell to 7-5.
Lake Forest will travel to Ripon College on Saturday for a 1:00 p.m. tip-off.