Warriors Control Cougars Behind Balanced Attack

Photo Credit: Larry Radloff, d3photography.com
Photo Credit: Larry Radloff, d3photography.com

MILWAUKEE - Nate Siemers (Nicollet, Minn./Minnesota Valley Lutheran) led six Warriors in double figures with a career-high 16 points as the Wisconsin Lutheran College men's basketball team claimed its third straight victory, a 91-80 win over Concordia Chicago Saturday afternoon at the Recreation Complex. WLC's (8-13, 6-11 NACC) 91 points were a season high as it captured its first three-game winning streak since December 8-12 last season. Combined with a loss by Rockford, the Warriors' victory pushed them into a tie for the eighth and final seed in the NACC Tournament field with three conference games remaining. 

CUC (5-16, 2-14 NACC) took its first and only lead of the game on a three-pointer by Nat Pearson on the opening possession, but DJ Escamilla (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead) quickly answered with a three on the ensuing possession for WLC. The Warriors broke the game open with an 18-0 spurt that spanned 5:01 and was capped by Jake Jarnigo's (Lake Mills, Wis./Lakeside Lutheran) jumper at the 6:29 mark of the first half to give WLC a 33-14 advantage. WLC scored the final six points of the half, including a three-point play by Siemers to stretch the lead to a game-high 23 points at 45-22 going into the break.

Jarnigo led the Warriors with 11 first-half points as WLC shot a blistering 61.5 percent (16-of-26) from the field and 9-of-9 at the charity stripe. The Warriors held the Cougars to 33.3 percent shooting (9-of-27). WLC out-scored CUC 15-2 in points off turnovers in the half and held a 19-9 advantage on the boards.

The Cougars slowly chipped away at the deficit in the second half and pulled to within five on a three-pointer by Jacob Oakley to cut the lead to 76-71 with 3:45 to play. Kyle Stelse (Jefferson, Wis./Lakeside Lutheran) responded with a jumper on the next Warriors possession and Siemers put an exclamation point on the victory with a breakaway dunk with 1:22 remaining to give WLC an 85-75 lead. 

Siemers scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half and grabbed eight rebounds on the game. He was joined in double figures by Jarnigo (15 points), Escamilla (15), Brett Lubbe (Las Vegas, Nev./Faith Lutheran) (14), Stelse (12), and Taylor Chladek (West Allis, Wis./Nathan Hale) (10). CUC had four scorers in double figures, led by Marcus Elston's 20 points and Oakley's 19. 

WLC out-shot CUC 60-41 percent and controlled the glass 40-27. The Warriors also held a 29-11 advantage in bench points.

Wisconsin Lutheran hosts Edgewood (10-11, 8-8 NACC) Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Live audio, stats, and video will be available for the game at wlcsports.com.