MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Lutheran College men's basketball team battled back from a 13-point second-half deficit to grab the lead, but Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference rival Concordia Wisconsin took the lead back late and hung on to defeat the Warriors 79-75 in a nail-biting conference opener Saturday night at the Recreation Complex.
WLC (2-2, 0-1 NACC) faced its biggest deficit at 64-51 with 11:57 left in the game after CUW (1-2, 1-0 NACC) started the second half on a 22-10 run. The Warriors answered with a 20-5 burst over the next 7:35, capped by Jacob Thorne's (Bonduel, Wis./Bonduel) layup to take a 71-69 lead with 4:22 remaining.
The Falcons re-took the lead at 74-71 on a three by Brett Boettcher with 2:08 to go. WLC scored the next four points, taking a 75-74 lead with 1:11 left on a layup by Jim Marose (Waukesha, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran). Concordia Wisconsin cashed in on four straight free throw attempts to take a three-point lead, and WLC couldn't convert on the offensive end as the Falcons sealed the victory with another free throw.
The Falcons jumped out to a nine-point lead in the first half, but the Warriors used a 15-5 run to take a 32-31 lead with 3:26 left in the half. CUW grabbed the advantage back before halftime, but Kyle Stelse (Jefferson, Wis./Lakeside Lutheran) made a driving layup at the halftime buzzer to cut the deficit to 42-41.
Nine of the 10 Warriors who played scored, with each of them totaling at least four points. Stelse led the Warriors with 16 points on 8-for-15 shooting and pulled down nine rebounds. Marose scored 12 points and added nine rebounds and three blocked shots, while Brett Lubbe (Las Vegas, Nev./Faith Lutheran) chipped in 10 points and six boards.
Bradley Prinsen led four Falcons in double figures with 17 points and dished out a game-high four assists. Steven Brodie scored 15 and Boettcher corraled a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with nine points.
The Warriors out-shot the Falcons 43-39 percent, but CUW hit 47 percent (9-for-19) from beyond the arc while WLC made just 11 percent (1-for-9). The Falcons hurt the Warriors on the boards with a 51-38 rebounding edge, including a 19-11 advantage on the offensive glass. Wisconsin Lutheran dominated points in the paint 46-28.
WLC has next week off before hosting a NACC game against Lakeland (2-1, 0-0 NACC) Tuesday, December 3 at 7 p.m.