- Result: Maranatha 49-63 Illinois Tech
- Location: Keating Sports Center, Illinois Institute of Technology
- Attendance: 192
- Record: Sabercats are now 9-7
- Next Game for MBU: Saturday, Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. at Luther
CHICAGO -- Despite a career-high 19 points from Justin Blake, the Sabercats came up short in a defensive battle against Illinois Tech tonight.
Even though the Sabercats played noteworthy defense - especially in the first half - they couldn't find their mark tonight, as they shot 36.2 percent from the field. From downtown, Maranatha didn't get a single shot to fall.
The all-AD3I battle started out as a defensive struggle, as both units put in some hard-working shifts to get the night started. The Sabercats were the first team to break into double-digits, and it took them 8 long minutes to do so - a Jonathan Book free throw put the Sabercats up 10-7 at the 8-minute mark.
That 10-7 lead was the last one that the Sabercats would hold on the night. IIT put together a 10-0 run over the next 3 minutes to take a 7-point lead, and from that point on, IIT never trailed. Although IIT regained a 2-point lead going into the locker room, the Sabercats had put in a solid 20-minute shift against the sharp IIT squad, who were the favorites on the night.
With the familiarity of their home floor working for them, the hosts pulled out to a 14-point lead (their largest of the night) with 5 minutes left. The margin would hold until the final buzzer.
Blake did his part to try to keep the Sabercats level. The sophomore went 6-8 to log 13 points in the first half, and the big man completed his double-double in the second half by grabbing 6 boards and an additional 6 points.
On the other end of the court, Tech's Jake Bruns went 6-8 from downtown to lead all scorers with 22 points. IIT had 2 other players in double digits.
Blake added 2 blocks and an assist to his 19-point, 11-rebound showing.
Book registered 13 points on the night.
IIT grabbed 19 offensive rebounds in the game.
Tech had 2 players record double-doubles.
IIT showed their strength on defense, as they held the Sabercats to their first sub-50 night of the season.
The Scarlet Hawks' win ties the all-time series at 4-4.
THE SOUND BITE
"We played a very good game up until the second half," said Coach Keith Salscheider. "IIT had a couple of starters out, but their replacements played even better. IIT has a very strong program, and we were happy with how we did on the road - we just lacked the discipline to stick to the game plan. We're excited about where we're headed."
The Sabercats will travel to Decorah, Iowa Saturday for a 3 p.m. tip-off against Luther College. Catch the details at mbusabercats.com/composite.