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GALESBURG — The Carl Sandburg College men’s basketball team wrapped up the regular season Friday night by winning its eighth consecutive game, defeating Robert Morris-Springfield 92-81 at John M. Lewis Gymnasium in a nonconference matchup.
The Chargers (22-8), a night after winning their first Arrowhead Conference title in 28 years, had all 11 players score and pulled away in the final 15 minutes for their 12th win in the last 13 games.
Freshman forwards T.J. Pendleton (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg) and Deandrey Robinson (Peoria, Ill./Peoria) each recorded double-doubles, helping the Chargers to a monstrous 62-22 edge on the glass, with 22 rebounds coming on the offensive end.
Pendleton came off the bench to score a game- and season-high 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added 13 rebounds, including nine offensive. Robinson was a point away from a double-double in the first half, and he finished with 12 points and a season-best 15 boards.
Sophomore Zac Smith (Williamsfield, Ill./Williamsfield) scored a season-best 10 for the Chargers, and freshman guard Eryon Byrd (Peoria, Ill./Peoria) also scored 10 while grabbing seven rebounds in a reserve role.
The teams went into halftime tied at 35, and the Eagles led 43-42 with 16:15 to go before the Chargers rattled off 11 straight points to go ahead for good. Freshman Ben Stipp (Abingdon, Ill./Abingdon-Avon) capped the run with three consecutive assists, with two feeds to Tyler Houston (Knoxville, Ill./Knoxville) sandwiched around one to Matt Wendling (Athens, Ill./Athens).
The Eagles got within 58-51 with 11:07 to go, but Byrd followed with a layup and a 3-pointer to extend Sandburg’s lead back to double digits.
Six of the Eagles’ seven players scored in double figures, with Darrell Akins leading the way with 19 points to tie Pendleton for game-high honors.
“It’s been a long, busy week for us, but it was good to see us finish on a high note tonight,” Chargers coach Ryan Twaddle said. “It would’ve been easy to have a letdown after last night, but we found a way to win. We got our bench guys a lot of minutes tonight, and they did a great job for us, especially T.J.”
Sandburg will open the postseason with a Region IV quarterfinal matchup against Bryant & Stratton on Thursday evening at John M. Lewis Gymnasium on the CSC campus. Tip-off is set for 7:00.