His style of play may never get him on ESPN SportsCenter, but Central Lakes College Raiders men's basketball player Mike Pater makes his presence felt.
Pater doesn't possess a great shot and will probably never lead his team in scoring. He dives after loose balls and doesn't shy away from taking tooth-rattling charges. He gobbles up any stray shot that's within arm's reach.
In Tuesday's showdown with perennial powerhouse Fergus Falls, Pater did what he does best, helping CLC to a rousing 73-71 win.
With CLC leading 69-68 and less than 30 seconds left, Raiders guard Deejay Mayfield launched a deep three-pointer as the shot clock expired.
Pater was underneath and outbattled his opponent for the offensive rebound. He found Mayfield, who was fouled and sank one of two foul shots.
"I saw the shot clock running down," Pater said. "I knew that it was going to be a long shot and that Deejay was more than likely not going to make it so I just tried to get position on my guy. It was just us two and I knew I had to get it."
Fergus Falls' Andy Parochka put up a running jumper on the inbounds pass for the tie with just seconds remaining. The ball bounced off the rim and through traffic. Pater dove to the floor and snared the loose ball.
Fergus Falls' Nick Hansen was assessed a technical foul after the play. Mayfield hit both pressure-packed foul shots to seal the win.
"Mike knows how to win" Raiders coach Jim Russell said of Pater. "He does all the little things that helps a team win. For him to get that rebound says it all right there. He has a lot of heart and a lot of pride."
Pater finished the game with nine points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals.
Helping keep the Raiders in the lead for much of the second half was stout forward Leonard Langdon.
The 6-foot-3 freshman scored eight of his team-high 12 points in the second half. He grabbed four of his six rebounds in the second half. Langdon plowed his way to the basket numerous times for easy scores.
"Leonard looks like a wide body," Russell said, "but he is so athletic and so quick that people have a hard time guarding him. He's also a very good passer. He's a perimeter player playing in the post and that's the unique thing about him."
Mayfield, the team's leading scorer at 13.3 points per game, was held to seven, all coming in the second half. But when it mattered, Mayfield was the one with the ball in his hands.
"This is what I'm looking for as a coach, who's going to step up and who wants the ball at the end and Deejay wanted it," Russell said. "For him to hit those free throws under pressure he showed he's cool and collected."
After dropping two close games to Division II schools last weekend, Russell wondered how his team would respond. He got his answer.
"This is a young team," Russell said. "The team they beat (Tuesday) has seven sophomores back from a national tournament team. Our team has some intensity and we're capable of playing like this all the time."
Fergus Falls 33 38 -- 71
Central Lakes 35 38 -- 73
FERGUS FALLS (71)
Aaron Motz 3, Matt Johnson 7, Andy Parochka 6, Matt Hoie 6, Chad Anderson 14, Nick Hansen 16, Ryan Gullingsrud 6, Jon Botz 8, Archie Weatherspoon 5. Team totals: FG 23-56 (41.1 percent), FT 19-26 (73.1percent).
CENTRAL LAKES (73)
Adam Carson 4, Travis Krenske 9, Deejay Mayfield 7, Andy Schmitz 2, Ronald Ferguson 4, Ron Jackson 4, Louis Roseman 9, Dave Tesch 2, Chris Metcalf 7, Mike Pater 9, Mike Peeters 4, Leonard Langdon 12. Team totals: FG 30-67 (44.8 percent), FT 10-19 (52.6 percent). Overall -- CLC 2-2. Next game: CLC at Anoka-Ramsey 3 p.m. Saturday.
3-point baskets -- CLC 3 (Krenske 3), FF 6. Rebounds -- CLC 43 (Jackson 6, Pater 6, Langdon 6), FF 36. Assists -- CLC 19 (Jackson 4), FF 16. Steals -- CLC 5 (Pater 3), FF 3. Fouled out -- FF-Matt Hoie
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