MILWAUKEE -- In their final game before Thanksgiving Break, the Sabercats defeated the Wisconsin Lutheran College Warriors for the first time since 2011, winning 81-75 tonight in Milwaukee.
David Lerma hit a career-best 25 points, and the lead changed hands 14 times in the tight-knit matchup.
- Result: Maranatha 81-75 Wisconsin Lutheran
- Venue: WLC Recreation Complex
- Location: Milwaukee
- Attendance: 313
- Records: MBU (2-1), WLC (1-1)
MBU shot the ball well all game, and it paid off. An early jumper from Matt Gill set the tone, as the Sabercats maintained a slim lead over the Warriors by taking the opportunities that they were given. A half-dozen early points from Jonathan Book kept MBU in front, but the Warriors came back, taking a seven-point lead at the three-minute mark. Wisconsin Lutheran held a five-point lead into the closing seconds, but a big offensive board and subsequent three-point play from Justin Blake cut the lead to two points as the teams went into the locker rooms. WLC 40-38 MBU.
As it turned out, that seven-point lead from the Warriors would be the closest one in the contest. Both teams stayed close, and it was a one- or two-possession ballgame for the majority of the night. Lerma steadily amassed his 25-point showing, and with the score at 73-71, he knocked down three free throws with just over a minute left to make it a six-point game. WLC answered to cut the lead to four, but two final free throws from Lerma with 15 seconds left but the game on ice.
Lerma was backed up with three other double-digit performances: 14 points apiece from Stephen Wilkerson (career-high) and Gill (tied-career-high), along with 10 points from Book made it a solid night for MBU.
MBU Starters: 3-Book, 11-Medina, 15-Lerma, 30-Blake, 35-Gill // WLC Starters: 2-Biesterfeld, 11-Bruggink, 14-Farner, 15-Knueppel, 33-Kennedy
"Tonight was a huge win for us," said Coach Keith Salscheider. "Our guys really came to play, and we played our hearts out, so that was great to see. WLC is always a power team in DIII in this area, and they've got a great team and coaching staff this year, so we were fortunate to catch them on an off-night tonight. We had a lot of guys step up, and our unselfishness was the key for us offensively. Matt Gill really stepped up and played some great defense, and we played for each other - it was 'love your neighbor as yourself', so to speak, and we did a great job of playing together as a team."
- Lerma: career-high 25 points
- Gill: 14 points (ties career-high) in his first career start
- MBU: shot 51.7 percent from the floor
- MBU: hit 15/17 free throws
- Rebounding: MBU 38-24 WLC
- Largest Lead: 7 pts - Warriors
- Last year: Wisconsin Lutheran beat Maranatha at WLC, 86-49
- Series: Wisconsin Lutheran leads the series, 44-16
- The Warriors compete in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference
- WLC finished last season with an 8-17 record
The Sabercats will return to action on November 27, when they travel to Cornell College for a 7:00 p.m. tip. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.