MILWAUKEE -- The Sabercats stepped into the Kern Center with hopes of ending the calendar year on a high note, but they ended up taking their heaviest loss of the season.
The Raiders of MSOE handed MBU a 24-point defeat to end the first semester of competition, landing the Sabercats' record at an even 4-4.
- Result: Maranatha 67-91 MSOE
- Venue: Kern Center
- Location: Milwaukee
- Attendance: 147
- Records: MBU (4-4), MSOE (8-1)
The lead changed hands like it was going out of style as the teams established the game's rhythm, but the Raiders gained control of the game as it matured. A 12-4 Raider run opened the game up after the 10-minute mark, and MSOE was able to stand strong on the other end of the court, keeping the gap at a nine-point minimum.
Both teams shot the ball well, as they teased the 50-percent standard, but nine MBU turnovers gave the Raiders nine extra looks in the first half alone. That and a six-point difference in free-throw shooting meant that MSOE held a 13-point lead going into halftime.
Leading the way for the Sabercats in the first half were Stephen Wilkerson (eight points) and Rob Sonnenberg (seven points), but MBU had trouble limiting Matt Kirmse and Jason Palesse, who logged 18 and 13 points, respectively, for MSOE.
A 17-6 run for the Raiders at the beginning of the second half cemented the momentum and proved to be too big of a gap to overcome for MBU. At the end of the night, the biggest Maranatha lead was a mere three points, and the Raiders had their eighth win out of nine games.
MBU Starters: 3-Book, 11-Medina, 15-Lerma, 22-Sonnenberg, 35-Gill // MSOE Starters: 03-Palesse, 11-McDaniel, 23-Kirmse, 35-Gebert, 45-Ballard
"We're battling some inconsistency," said Coach Keith Salscheider. "Tonight was one of those nights where we just did not play up to our potential, and a lot of that credit goes to MSOE. They're a top-level NACC team, and they showed us how basketball is supposed to be played tonight. We just couldn't keep up with their speed and aggressiveness."
- Wilkerson: led MBU with 10 points
- Sonnenberg: 8 points, 6 rebounds
- MBU: 20 turnovers on the night - worst mark this season
- Last meeting: MSOE won in Watertown, 61-49, during the 2016-17 season
- Series: MSOE leads the series, 43-30
- MSOE competes in the NCAA DIII's Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference
- The Raiders started the year with a six-game winning streak
- MSOE took a 23-point home loss to Wisconsin Lutheran on December 5
- Coming into tonight, the Raiders averaged 78.3 points per game while averaging 67.8 points allowed
The Sabercats have concluded the first semester of play, and they will resume action on January 5 at Martin Luther College. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.