Men’s basketball in contention for NAC North

Danny Spatchek, Sports Editor

Sophomore forward Jake Schwarz’s buzzer-beating tip-in propelled the Lakeland men’s basketball team to a 70-69 win over Northern Athletics Conference foe Dominican Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Moose and Dona Woltzen Gymnasium.

Dominican’s top scorer and the NAC’s leader in free throw percentage Marquis Turley missed two free throws to give Lakeland the ball back and put them in a position to take the lead with a two-pointer.

After a timeout, Lakeland was down 69-68 with eight seconds remaining. The Muskies inbounded the ball to sophomore guard Josh Regal who sprinted the length of the court before missing a contested layup that Schwarz tipped in as time expired.

“We wanted to spread things out and let Regal create without the ball screen,” Men’s Basketball Coach Aaron Aanonsen said. “We always emphasize going to the glass, and Jake made a great play.

“Jake continues to come up big down the stretch for us.”

Regal converted a fade away three with nine seconds left to pull Lakeland within one.

“Regal hit a nice three to put us within one and in a position to foul and get the ball back,” Aanonsen said.

Schwarz, the conference’s leading scorer, scored a game-high 25 points while pulling down a career-best 18 rebounds.

Aanonsen talked about defending Turley, the conference’s second leading scorer.

“He scored a lot even though we were focused on him defensively—he had 14 points and three offensive rebounds in the first half,” Aanonsen said. “I thought we did a better job on him in the second half. We face guarded him and made sure to limit his touches.”

No team led by more than seven in an aggressive contest that included 35 fouls,

Lakeland outscored the Stars 38-20 in the paint and was able to convert eleven offensive rebounds into 13 second-chance points. Dominican had 15 second-chance points off nine offensive boards.

Lakeland also turned Dominican over 13 times for 21 of their points. Lakeland committed eleven turnovers in the game.

Sophomore forward Germell Heard chipped in eleven points and four rebounds off the bench for Lakeland.

“Germell gave us a nice spark off the bench,” Aanonsen said.

Lakeland defeated NAC North division rival Edgewood for the second time this season, winning 69-55 on Tuesday, Feb. 2 in Madison.

Aanonsen commented on the win, one that came in more convincing fashion than the win at home earlier in the season where the Muskies barely squeaked out a 68-66 victory.

“We let them know that we were going to play a hard and physical game out of the gates,” Aanonsen said. “We set the tone on the defensive end by limiting them to one shot each possession. We didn’t turn the ball over on offense and we were able to get good shots from inside the paint.”

Lakeland, who had lost three of four games coming into the contest, took a 34-25 lead going into halftime following a 9-0 run.

“Offensively, we shared the basketball and didn’t turn it over,” Aanonsen said. “We got good looks on the inside and from outside.”

The Muskies shot 37 percent from the field in the second half after a 50 percent first half, but converted eleven of their 15 shots from the charity stripe to keep the Eagles at bay.

Edgewood, now tied with Lakeland for second place in the NAC North Division, shot 40.9 percent from the field, including a meager 23.8 percent from behind the arc.

Lakeland kept the home team uncomfortable for most of the game by forcing 15 turnovers in comparison to ten giveaways of their own.

“The biggest key was that we contained the basketball,” Aanonsen said. “We controlled the tempo, got stops and grabbed rebounds.”

Lakeland capped off a 10-2 run to start the second half with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Eric Vandivier. Edgewood narrowed Lakeland’s lead to ten but back-to-back runners by Regal warded off any significant momentum from the Eagles.

Schwarz led the Muskies with 20 points, four assists, and 15 rebounds. Senior guard Khendal Andrews added 12 points and three assists and freshman guard Jamie Koebe put in eight points off the bench.

“Jamie Koebe and Hunter Wolf gave us a spark off the bench against Edgewood,” Aanonsen said.

Lakeland connected on eight three-pointers and out-rebounded Edgewood 35-30 in the game. Edgewood shot 14-of-24, just 58.3 percent, from the free throw line.

Lakeland faced NAC North Division leader Concordia Wisconsin at 7 p.m. in Mequon on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

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