LASALLE – In dramatic fashion, Noah Lamboley shot down Sterling's chances of earning a big road win Friday.
With the score tied, Lamboley hit a 12-footer from the right baseline with 6 seconds left to give LaSalle-Peru a 48-46 Northern Illinois Big 12 West win over the Golden Warriors.
Sterling's ensuing inbound pass was stolen, but the Cavaliers' Bret Storm missed the front end of a one-and-one and the Warriors called timeout with 2.7 seconds left.
Again, Sterling could not get a good opportunity, as the long inbound found Logan Wharff, whose desperation heave at the buzzer was well off the mark.
LaSalle-Peru (9-5, 5-0) was without starters Jens Soderholm and Cameron Hight. Soderholm, who may be the best player in the conference, averages more than 21 points and nearly 12 rebounds per game. Hight is the Cavs' third-leading scorer at nearly eight points per game.
Soderholm was suspended by L-P coach Jim Cherveny, while Hight has a broken thumb.
"We did a lot of good things, but that fade-away baseline shot, it's tough to lose that way," said Sterling's Zack Everett, who scored nine points and pulled down 10 rebounds. "I thought we were going to at least put it into overtime and have another chance."
Despite not getting a point from leading scorer Zach Rehmert, who averages 14 points per game but was 0-for-9 from the field, Sterling (7-10, 2-2) fought back valiantly. Rehmert was not in the game in the late going.
Down 42-31 in the final minute of the third quarter, the Warriors got a spark from Alex Soriano, who scored all of his team-high 10 points in the second half.
He hit a 3 to make it an eight-point game going to the fourth quarter. He hit another 3 to start the fourth and added a free throw, making it 42-38 with 6:20 to play.
"We weren't making very many shots, so I felt like I had to contribute and try to score," Soriano said. "I haven't had any good games lately. I haven't contributed to the team that much. I feel like I need to contribute more."
At the 4:34 mark freshman Sterling Thornton, who was in the Warriors' starting lineup, hit a 3 to make it a two-point game, 45-43.
With 1:40 remaining, Thornton appeared to hit a go-ahead 3, but it was ruled a two-pointer and made it 46-all.
After L-P missed a shot, Sterling worked the clock until throwing the ball away with 29 seconds left, setting the stage for Lamboley, who scored 14 points.
Jon VonBehren led the Cavs with a game-high 15 points. Storm added 13.
Micah Miller scored nine points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Warriors.
Sterling did not employ its typical frenetic pressing defense.
"We didn't know Soderholm wasn't going to play until today, and the other kid got hurt last night," Warriors coach Jim Preston said. "Rather than revamp our whole game plan, we stuck with what we were going to do."
Star of the game: Noah Lamboley, L-P, 14 points, game-winning shot with 6 seconds left
Key performers: Jon VonBehren, L-P, 15 points, 8 rebounds; Bret Storm, L-P, 13 points; Zack Everett, Sterling, 9 points, 10 rebounds
Up next: Stoughton at Sterling, 5:30 p.m. Saturday