Men’s basketball loses in closely contested games

Danny Spatchek, Sports Editor

The Lakeland men’s basketball team led twice in the second half, but still wound up on the wrong side of an 80-74 score line against Northern Athletics Conference North Division rival Rockford on Thursday, Jan. 21 at the Moose and Dona Woltzen Gymnasium.

The loss was the first at home in conference play for Lakeland, who allowed the visiting Regents a 49.1 shooting percentage in the game, including a 51.5 second half percentage.

“We didn’t come out with as much energy as we had on Tuesday (versus Concordia Wisconsin),” Men’s Basketball Coach Aaron Aanonsen said. “We weren’t able to capitalize on some of the things that I thought we could and they rebounded harder than we did, which let them get the close victory.”

Rockford owned the lead for most of the second half, but sophomore forward Jake Schwarz made two free throws to give Lakeland a 53-51 lead at the 12:13 mark.

Lakeland missed four shots and committed two turnovers to assist Rockford to an 8-0 run and a six point advantage.

Aanonsen said the loss was tough to take given their previous undefeated record in conference play at home.

“I feel like we’re more confident at home—but I think that’s the case [for teams] in every basketball conference,” Aanonsen said. “I feel we would have won the game, but we just didn’t play hard enough.”

Both teams attempted 23 free throws on the night, with Lakeland edging the visitors 20 to 19 in free throws converted. Rockford had the upper hand in long-range shooting, connecting on over 45 percent of their 3-point attempts. Lakeland shot just 25 percent from behind the arc.

Schwarz scored 22 points and pulled down eleven rebounds while sophomore guard Josh Regal contributed 18 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Freshman guard P.J. Marion had a career night off the bench for the Muskies, scoring 12 points in the first half en route to a total of 14.

Lakeland hosted MSOE in another tightly-contested Northern Athletics Conference match-up that concluded with a 65-60 Lakeland defeat on Saturday, Jan. 23 at the Moose and Dona Woltzen Gymnasium.

Lakeland shot 42 percent from the field, including just 38.5 in the second half, and was under 60 percent from the free throw line. MSOE shot 52.2 percent on the game, including 47.4 percent from 3-point range.

“Early in the game, they shot the ball really well,” Aanonsen said. “Some of their non-scorers and non-shooters were hitting shots early.”

The Muskies gained their first lead since the opening minutes of the game at the 16:04 mark in the second half following a Regal 3-pointer.

A layup by Schwarz tied the game at 46 before MSOE went on an 11-0 run to bring the score to 57-46 with 6:39 to play.

Aanonsen commented on the problems the Raider’s post players presented.

“They forced us to take jump shots and were able to control the tempo throughout the game,” Aanonsen said. “They say big players make big plays and that’s what MSOE’s players did.”

MSOE held a 36-31 advantage going into the locker room, and was able to get the win turning the ball over 17 times during the game.

Schwarz posted his second double-double in two games and his sixth on the year by collecting 20 points and eleven boards. Regal added 17 points, including four 3-pointers.

Lakeland will look to turn things around as they play the first game of a three-game road trip against Maranatha Baptist in Watertown, Wis. on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.

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