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Mundelein's Sean O'Brien dribbles past St. Viator's Ore Arogundade. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
Mundelein takes offense to a whole new art form.
“When we’re out running and getting into transition, that’s when we are at our best,” Mundelein senior forward Sean O’Brien said.
In an offensive exhibition, the Mustangs drilled 10 three-pointers to establish a massive lead and then withstood a monumental performance by St. Viator’s Ore Arogundade to pull out a riveting 94-90 victory in the Conference Challenge Classic Sunday night at Gordon Tech.
The game proved a mirror of last year’s notable sectional semifinal, in which the Mustangs prevailed 92-88. O’Brien scored 11 of his 24 points in the first quarter as Mundelein ran out to a 23-7 lead five minutes into the game.
Senior forward Chino Ebube, an athletic 6-5 wing, scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Mustangs (14-13). O’Brien’s beautiful halfcourt alley-oop dunk in the first quarter was one of five slams he recorded.
“With this team, all I have to do is run and I’m going to be able to get something at the offensive end,” O’Brien said.
Mundelein needed every individual offensive contribution it collected in order to offset the spectacular performance of Arogundade, the 6-3 junior guard who poured in a career-high 45 points. The Lions suffered a significant loss after talented sophomore guard Mark Falotico sustained an apparent concussion on St. Viator’s opening possession of the game.
“I try to be aggressive with the basketball and do things for my teammates all the time,” Arogundade said. “We got behind and I just wasn’t able to make enough plays out there.”
Mundelein survived despite allowing a stunning 41-point fourth quarter by the Lions. Guard Quinn Pokora scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half for the Mustangs. His three-pointer for a 77-58 advantage with just over six minutes to play seemingly put the game out of reach.
“Even though it was a 19-point deficit, it was more like eight points because of the number of possessions,” St. Viator coach Mike Howland said. “It was a carbon copy of last year’s [sectional] game, in that we started our very slowly. Defensively, we were not ready to play at the start of the game. We didn’t have a defensive stop until six or seven minutes into the game.’’
Arogundade scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, willing the Lions (17-8) back into the game. Senior guard Patrick Martin (17 points) hit consecutive three-pointers for a one-possession game. Martin had a chance to forge a tie with just over 11 seconds remaining.
He was fouled shooting a three-point attempt with the Lions down 92-89. His first shot hit the front of the rim. After making the second shot, he deliberately missed the third attempt. St. Viator appeared to grab the rebound, but they were ruled to step out of bounds.
Pokora hit two free throws with 1.8 seconds for the game’s final margin.
Mundelein senior guard Robert Knarr, who is being slowly re-integrated into the lineup after major knee surgery, hit three three-pointers and added 11 points for the Mustangs.
Senior guard Mayo Arogundade added 11 points for the Lions.