The Morton Potters once again needed overtime at the Potterdome to overcome a second half deficit to defeat a Mid-Illini Conference opponent.
Friday night, the Potters beat East Peoria 59-53 in overtime to improve to 17-8 overall and 11-1 in the Mid-Illini.
“We composed ourselves well at the end of the game,” Morton coach Jarrett Brown said. “This time of the year we don’t put a lot of value into what kind of win we get, we just want to win.”
Morton guard Ryan Altenberger led the Potters in scoring with 27 points. Forward Tucker Anderson started the game with a 3-pointer from the corner, but East Peoria went on an 8-0 run after.
Braydon Weber scored eight straight points for the Raiders over a 1 minute, 52 second span.
The senior guard-forward scored 11 of East Peoria’s 13 points in the first quarter, converting on 3-of-4 3-pointers.
An Altenberger 3-pointer for Morton brought the Potters deficit to one point at the end of the first quarter.
East Peoria (8-15, 2-10) led 13-12 after the opening quarter.
However, Morton’s defense stymied Weber and company in the second quarter.
“Weber had a great first quarter and then we struggled when he came out of the game,” East Peoria coach Matt Wright said.
The Potters held East Peoria to one point in the second frame.
In the final four minutes of the second quarter, Morton used a 6-0 run to close out the half.
Morton used a 12-1 run in the second quarter overall to hold a 24-14 lead at halftime.
Altenberger scored 12 points in the first half, with six points in each quarter.
East Peoria stormed out of the halftime break.
The Raiders went on an 8-0 run, thanks to two separate old-fashioned 3-point plays; one from Cole Morton and one from Weber.
The Potters responded with 2:40 remaining in the third behind an Altenberger layup.
However, the Raiders responded again, finishing the quarter on a 6-2 run to hold a 31-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Raiders outscored Morton 17-6 overall in the third.
The two teams traded blows in the fourth, with five lead changes in the final eight minutes of regulation.
Potters forward Zach Byrne gave Morton a 41-38 lead with 52.6 seconds remaining, but East Peoria would respond immediately.
Grant Hagedorn hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with 44 seconds remaining to tie the game at 41 a piece.
Morton held for the last shot, which ultimately fell to Potters forward Bryce Brekke, who’s 10 footer wouldn’t fall to force overtime.
Weber and Altenberger traded 3-pointers to start the extra period, before Morton gained the initiative.
After Anderson converted two free throws at 1:49, East Peoria failed to score on the ensuing possession.
The Raiders then elected to begin fouling, and Morton clinched the game from the free-throw line.
In the final 50 second of the game, Morton converted 11-of-14 shots from the charity stripe to earn a 59-53 victory.
Weber led the Raiders with 20 points, while Brock Crippen added 12 points in the loss.
“I thought we did well enough defensively to get the win,” Wright said. “Overall I was proud that we came out and made some good runs to get back in the game.”