Austin Packers boys’ basketball wins OT thriller at Mankato East 73-71

The Austin Packers boys’ basketball team was back in Mankato for the second time this week Friday evening to wrap up a five-game road swing against the East Cougars, and, like their visit to West against the Scarlets Tuesday evening, the Packers earned a big win on the road as Victor Idris scored 20 points, the last two on a driving layup at the buzzer in overtime to help Austin rally back from a 19-point halftime deficit to win 73-71.

The Packers trailed 34-15 at the half, but a hoop from Idris capped off an 11-2 run to start the half to trim the Cougar lead to ten at 36-26.  A 3-pointer from guard Cham Okey ended an ensuing 8-3 Packer run to trim East’s lead to 39-34, and Austin was able to stay within striking distance until Okey found forward Kaden Murley with a nifty feed under the hoop for a layup with just under 2:30 to go to trim East’s lead to one at 55-54.  The Packers then scored the next six points in a row, capped off by a 3-pointer from Ater Manyoun to take a 60-55 lead with just over 1:30 to go, but the Cougars would not go out quietly as they ended regulation on a 7-2 run to send the game into overtime tied at 62.

East jumped out to a 67-63 lead in the extra session, but Idris stepped to the fore for the Packers as his layup cut the lead to 67-65, and another basket from Idris and a free throw after a foul gave Austin a 68-67 lead with 2:00 left in OT.  The two teams battled to a 71-all tie from there, and it was Idris taking the ball strong to the basket for the layup at the buzzer to give the Packers a heart-stopping win.

Besides his 20 points, Idris added 10 rebounds for a double-double, plus he tallied three steals, two assists and four blocked shots.  Cham Okey chipped in 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal, Ater Manyoun was also in double figures in scoring with 11 points, Kaden Murley added 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot, Gage Manahan tallied six points, Buai Duop contributed four points, and Manny Guy scored three points for the Packers, who now stand at 7-4 in the Big 9 Conference and 8-7 overall on the season with the win.

The Packers get no rest, as they are back at Packer Gym tonight (Saturday) versus the Rochester Mayo Spartans, with the varsity tip-off at 7:30 p.m.