MOUNT VERNON, Iowa -- After holding a 12-point lead during the first half, the Sabercats struggled to connect their second-half chances, falling 72-86 to Cornell College.
- Result: Maranatha 72-86 Cornell
- Venue: Cornell College
- Location: Mount Vernon, Iowa
- Attendance: 278
- Records: MBU (2-2), CC (1-3)
Neither team dominated the first 10 minutes, as each squad probed for weaknesses. A couple of three-point shots from Zeke Steuerwald and Sonnenberg pushed the lead out to seven points for MBU, and that duo soon combined for five more points to push the lead out to that game-high mark of 12 points.
But as the first half came to a close, Cornell began to hit three-pointers like they were going out of style. Four consecutive connections from downtown chiseled Maranatha's lead to four points entering halftime.
To start the second half, the Sabercats could not find a shooting rhythm, as they put up just two points from the floor through the first 10 minutes of the second half. By the time Sonnenberg connected a three-pointer at the 10:26 mark, the Rams had taken a nine-point lead. The hosts would hold that lead until the final horn, as the closest MBU would come was within five points of the determined Rams.
Throughout the second half, the Rams took advantage of their free throws, converting 17 of 20 to reinforce the lead. As the Rams closed out the 14-point win, the Sabercats were left searching for answers, connecting less than 30 percent of their shots in the final act.
MBU Starters: 3-Book, 11-Medina, 15-Lerma, 22-Sonnenberg, 30-Blake // CC Starters: 5-Connaker, 10-Drew 14-Sturtevant, 15-Magnani, 33-Kabela
"I was really happy with our effort in the first half," said Coach Keith Salscheider. "But Cornell played harder than we did in the second half and seemed like they wanted it more, to a degree. We just have to go back to the basics and work on our effort and sticking to our game plan. If we can clean some things up, we're going to be fine."
- Sonnenberg: 18 points, 8 rebounds
- Lerma: tied his career-high with 8 assists
- MBU: shot 44.7 percent in the first half and 26.7 percent in the second
- MBU: hit 15/17 free throws
- Rebounding: MBU 39-38 CC
- Last year: Cornell took an 81-70 win at Maranatha
- Series: Cornell leads the series, 1-0
- The Rams compete in the Midwest Conference
- Cornell finished last season with a 12-13 record, going 7-11 in conference play
The Sabercats will travel to the Twin Cities on Thursday to face the North Central University Rams at 6:00 p.m. NCU is currently ranked #10 in the NCCAA DII and compete for the NCCAA North Region with the Sabercats. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.