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Kaneland’s energized second-half play enervated the visiting Yorkville Foxes Friday night and led to a 51-30 Northern Illinois Big 12 win for the Knights.
Sparked by a 9-2 run to open the second half, the Knights pulled away and improved to 7-6 overall and 3-1 in league play.
John Pruett scored 10 of his game-high 14 points after the break when the Knights ball movement created backdoor opportunities and open shots.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Pruett started the third stanza. Pruett stole a pass and went the length of the floor for a layup while being fouled. Yorkville’s Dakota Gette answered with a pair of free throws, but the Knights responded with six straight points.
Tyler Carlson scored on a feed from Matt Limbrunner, with Limbrunner connecting from the post on an inbounds play and Pruett driving the baseline for a 31-22 margin midway through the frame. Drew David assisted on a pair of baskets and added a 10-foot jumper at the horn for a 37-28 lead.
“It’s important when you’re playing a team that traps to keep the ball in the middle of the floor and try to attack it,” Kaneland coach Brian Johnson said. “We were able to dish it off and get some good looks.”
“We were pretty lucky to get some looks around the bucket and anytime you can get in the paint it puts pressure on the defense to have to help,” Johnson continued. “I thought we did that in the second half.”
Pruett netted five consecutive points to open the fourth quarter when the Knights outscored Yorkville 14-2. He deposited a backdoor feed from Davis, hit a free throw and added a basket on a pass from Cole Carlson that increased the Knights advantage to 42-28 at the five-minute mark.
“John’s a kid who’s still trying to find himself as far as what he is as a player,” Johnson said. “I think he’s extremely athletic. He’s a little reserved and doesn’t want to take too many shots because he feels he’s hogging the ball, but everyday we tell him he needs to look to score more.”
He looked Friday night and needed only six attempts. He connected on all of them.
“We were able to get through their press, get down the floor and fortunately I got some easy buckets,” Pruett said. “We knew what we had to do, but we just didn’t do it in the first half. But as we got into our offense we started moving the ball and moving without the ball and got some easy buckets.”
Tyler Carlson and Limbrunner tallied 10 points each, while Josh Gengler led the Foxes (8-6, 2-2) with eight points.