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Providence's Nate Vejvoda hits an outside jumper against St. Joseph Friday in New Lenox. Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Senior guard Kevin Kozan hit a crucial three-pointer and made 5-of-6 free throws in the final two minutes of overtime to lead Providence over visiting St. Joseph 67-61 in a Catholic League crossover Friday night.
Kozan scored a game-high 29 points on 9-of-22 shooting. Miles Boykin added 19 points and Nate Vejvoda chipped in seven for Providence.
Loren Horton scored a team-high 16 points, while Paul Turner and Glynn Watson added 13 and 12, respectively, for St. Joseph.
“We knew what was coming from them and we just never let up,” Kozan said.
Providence (5-4, 2-1) got out of the gate quickly. Consecutive baskets by Vejvoda gave the Celtics an 11-6 lead with 3:40 left in the quarter.
St. Joseph stormed back with a 16-5 run capped by a Horton basket off a turnover for a 22-16 lead after one quarter.
Both teams struggled offensively in the second quarter, scoring just six points each. St. Joseph took a 28-22 halftime lead.
Horton’s long-range heave, which he banked in from 30 feet at the buzzer, gave St. Joseph (5-3, 2-1) a 41-37 lead after three quarters.
“I warned our team (Thursday) that I thought we weren’t ready to play,” St. Joseph coach Gene Pingatore said. “We had a chance to win and the pressure just got to us.”
With Providence leading 53-51, Watson drove the lane and hit a running jumper with 4.2 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
In the overtime period, Boykin’s consecutive baskets gave Providence a 57-55 lead before Kozan’s three-pointer made it 60-57 with two minutes to go. Kozan then hit 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to earn the victory.
“It all starts with Kevin. He barely came off the floor and never quit,” Providence coach Tim Trendel said. “When your leader gives you that effort, everybody feeds off of him.”