The Austin Packers boys basketball team was looking to get back on the winning track at Packer Gym Tuesday evening versus the Faribault Falcons in a Big 9 Conference matchup, and on Senior Night, senior forward Buai Duop led the club offensively with 14 points as the Packers pulled away in the closing minutes to win 77-62.
In a back-and-forth first half, Faribault scored the first seven points before Austin rallied with a 19-0 run of their own to take what would be their biggest lead of the first half at 19-7. The Falcons, though, would not go quietly into the night as they rallied back with a 15-5 run of their own to cut the Packer lead to 24-22, and they later edged back in front 29-26 before Austin ended the half on an 8-0 run, punctuated by a pair of thundering dunks from senior guard Ben Diang, one on an alley-oop pass from senior guard Ater Manyuon and the other off of a steal to give the Packers a 35-29 lead at the half.
Austin opened the second half on a 10-4 run to take a 45-33 lead, and they kept the lead at double digits at 60-50 with 7:01 to go and 63-51 with 6:19 left. The Falcons were able to stay within striking distance, though, as they cut the lead to seven a short time later, but they would get no closer as the Packers were able to use their depth to steadily wear down the Falcons, enabling them to pull away in the final five minutes for the win.
Besides Duop’s 14 points, senior guard Jack Lang scored all 12 of his points in the second half, including three 3-pointers, Ater Manyuon added 11 points, senior guard Jacob Herrick chipped in 10 points, senior guard Manny Guy tallied seven points, Ben Diang wound up with six points, senior forward A’Triel Terry chipped in five points, senior guards Morries Jabateh and Cameron Swenson each scored three points and senior forward Dane Mitchell, junior guard Peyton Ransom and senior forward Otong Nyikew each added two points apiece in the win.
With the victory, Austin is now 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the Big 9 Conference, and the Packers return to action Friday night in Rochester versus the John Marshall Rockets, with the varsity tip-off at 7:30 p.m.