ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Wisconsin Lutheran College men's basketball team overcame a 10-point second-half deficit on its way to holding off Rockford, 65-62, Saturday afternoon inside the Seaver Center. With the win, the Warriors take over sole possession of the eighth and final NACC Tournament spot with just one regular season game remaining.
The Warriors (10-14, 7-12 NACC) trailed by a game-high 10 points at 46-36 with 12:23 left in the second half before an 8-0 run cut their deficit to just two points. Neither team held more than a four-point lead over the final 10:57 of the game as the second half featured six ties and five lead changes. The Warriors took their first lead of the game at 53-52 after a pair of free throws from Jake Jarnigo (Lake Mills, Wis./Lakeside Lutheran) with 6:32 on the clock. After three lead changes, DJ Escamilla (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead) hit one of two free throws and then buried a three-pointer to give WLC its largest lead of the game at 63-59 with 1:55 left.
Following a three-point play, the Regents had the ball trailing 63-62 with 9.3 seconds left, but Scott Suchy's game-winning jumper was off the mark and Jarnigo followed with two more free throws to make it 65-62 with 3.1 seconds left. Rockford made a long inbounds pass and a deep three from Phil Andrade bounced around the rim a couple times and rattled out as the Warriors held on.
WLC never led in the first half as it trailed by as many as nine points at 18-9, but cut the Regents lead to just two points by halftime (30-28). The Warriors shot 34.2 percent (13-of-38) in the first half and just 30 percent (9-of-30) in the second half.
Jarnigo finished with 14 points and Escamilla added 13 to lead the Warriors double-figure scorers. Nate Siemers (Nicollet, Minn./Minnesota Valley Lutheran) provided nine points and a team-high nine rebounds off the bench. WLC was stellar from the free throw line, making 16 of its 19 attempts. The Forest Green and White out-rebounded the Regents 50-38 and out-scored their bench 24-7. The Warriors shot 32.4 percent (22-for-68) from the floor for the game.
David Dixon poured in a game-high 20 points to pace the Regents (10-14, 6-13 NACC). Suchy finished with 15 points, and Andrade recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. RU connected on 35 percent (21-for-60) of its shots in the contest.
WLC, winners of five of its last six games, closes out its regular season schedule Wednesday with a cross-town road matchup against MSOE (20-4, 15-4 NACC) at 7 p.m. Links to live audio, stats, and video for the game can be found at wlcsports.com.