Bambenek buzzer-beater wins it in OT for Warriors men

It was a game populated with dramatic plays for the Winona State men’s basketball team, with the final act the most clutch of all.

Trailing by two points with five seconds to play, Minnesota State’s Joey Witthus missed a free throw, and after a quick rebound and pass to Riley Bambenek, the Warriors junior advanced the ball up the floor and pulled up for a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc.

After the ball fell through the hoop, the crowd erupted, WSU (13-10, 12-7) swarmed to Bambenek, who finished with a game-high 25 points, and Winona State had extended its winning streak to six games with a 72-71 victory on Friday at McCown Gymnasium.

The contest’s theatrics weren’t relegated to Bambenek’s game-winner, however.

With 10 seconds remaining in regulation, Jalen Pendleton, who matched Bambenek’s 25 points, missed a free throw that was pulled down by Kyle Bauman. The ball was put in Bambenek’s hands and he found Charlie Koontz down low for a layup that tied the game at 61-61 with two seconds remaining.

The Warriors trailed throughout overtime, but Koontz grabbed an offensive rebound and connected on a jumper to knot the game at 67-67 with 32 seconds to go in the extra session.

Pendleton then coverted a three-point play before Bambenek sank a pair of free throws to make it 70-69 with six seconds left in overtime.

Kyle Bauman finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.

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