Warriors Knock Off NACC Preseason Favorites

Photo Credit: Jeff Wilson
Photo Credit: Jeff Wilson

MILWAUKEE (WLCSports.com) – The Wisconsin Lutheran College men's basketball team used a 30-7 run to pull away in the first half en route to a 96-82 victory over the visiting Aurora Spartans Tuesday night inside the Recreation Complex. Five players scored in double figures as the Warriors earned their first win over Aurora since 2012, snapping a 12-game losing skid to the defending NACC champions.

  • Final Score: Wisconsin Lutheran 96, Aurora 82
  • Records: Wisconsin Lutheran (3-2, 1-0 NACC), Aurora (1-1, 0-1 NACC)
  • Location: Recreation Complex, Milwaukee, Wis.

  • The two teams traded three-point baskets in the opening seconds of the game, but Aurora scored five quick points to take an 8-3 lead, forcing the Warriors to take a timeout just 1:34 into the contest. After the timeout, WLC used a 7-2 run, powered by a triple from Andrew Bruggink (Brookfield, Wis.) to tie the game at 10-10.
  • The Spartans responded with a 10-2 run of their own to take a 20-12 lead, but Sam Kaufman (Spring Grove, Ill.) connected on a midrange jumper, then Caleb Goldstein (Fond du Lac, Wis.) knocked down a triple from the top of the key to bring Wisconsin Lutheran within three points with 13 minutes to play in the first half.
  • Mack Knueppel (Jackson, Wis.) buried a corner three, then Alex VanCrete (Green Lake, Wis.) converted two free throws to give the Warriors a 24-23 advantage, their first lead of the contest, with just over 10 minutes left in the first half.
  • Colin Biesterfeld (West Bend, Wis.) hit a jumper, then Matty Farner (Muskego, Wis.) and Anthony Mendoza (San Diego, Calif.) converted back-to-back layups to extend the WLC lead to seven points.
  • Collin Kennedy (Holmen, Wis.) buried a transition three, then Farner converted another layup to push Wisconsin Lutheran's lead to 11 points, forcing the Spartans to take a timeout to halt the WLC momentum.
  • After an Aurora basket, Knueppel and Kennedy knocked down back-to-back three pointers, giving the Warriors a 17-point advantage with six minutes to play in the first half.
  • The two teams traded runs in the final minutes of the half, with the Warriors taking a 54-35 lead into the locker room after 52.6 percent (20-of-38) shooting from the floor and eight three pointers in the first half.
  • Bruggink opened the second half with a three-point play and WLC led by a game-high 22 points, but the Spartans scored six straight points to pull within 14 points with 15 minutes left to play in regulation.
  • Aurora used a 12-3 run to cut the Warriors lead to nine points, but Kennedy scored five straight to put the Warriors back ahead by 14 with just over 10 minutes remaining.
  • The Spartans trimmed the Warriors lead to 10 twice, but Goldstein buried a corner triple, then Kennedy connected on a mid-range jumper to extend the WLC lead to 15 with 6:51 to play.
  • Goldstein and Knueppel converted consecutive mid-range jumpers to increase Wisconsin Lutheran's lead to 17 points, then Kennedy hit a jumper of his own to give WLC an 86-67 advantage with four minutes remaining.
  • Aurora hit two three-pointers in the final minute, but the Warriors held on for the 96-82 victory.

  • Kennedy led five Warriors in double figures with a season-high 28 points and nine rebounds, while Bruggink added a career-high 21 points.
  • Goldstein scored 16 points and pulled down five rebounds, while Knueppel chipped in 13 points and had four assists, three rebounds, and two steals.
  • Farner rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
  • WLC shot 49.3 percent (36-of-73) from the floor and knocked down 45.5 percent (10-of-22) of its three-point attempts.
  • The Warriors owned a 43-38 advantage on the backboards and converted 73.7 percent (14-of-19) of their free throw attempts.
  • The Green and White won their first game over Aurora since 2012, snapping a streak of 12 straight losses to AU.

  • Brandon James led Aurora with 17 points while Ty Carlson, Matt Dunn, and Garrett Hoffman added 11 points apiece.
  • Bailey Vance scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the visitors.
  • AU shot 40.6 percent (26-of-64) from the floor and converted 75 percent (21-of-28) of its attempts from the charity stripe.
  • The Spartans, who are receiving votes in the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll, are the preseason favorites to win the NACC title.

  • The Warriors travel to Mequon Saturday for their first conference road contest of the season against Concordia Wisconsin. The Falcons (1-2, 1-0 NACC) defeated Concordia Chicago in their NACC opener a week ago. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Live stats and video will be available at WLCSports.com.