WATERTOWN, Wis. -- The Sabercats had the halftime lead, but the Storm was coming.
Crown College put together a revitalized second-half performance to take home a 74-63 win from the MBU campus. Rob Sonnenberg led MBU with 22 points - one off of his career-high.
- Result: Maranatha 63-74 Crown
- Venue: MBU Gymnasium
- Location: Watertown, Wis.
- Attendance: 232
- Records: MBU (7-8), CC (11-6)
Things started off ice cold for the Sabercats, as they let Crown build an 11-0 lead to get things going. That seemed to be the wakeup call that the Sabercats needed, as they responded with a 12-4 run to jump right back into the game. The resilience turned into a lead, as a quick feed from Jonathan Book set up Tyree Bruno, who made no mistake from close range. That put the Sabercats up 19-18 and the Storm had to call a timeout to talk about it.
From there, it was a tight finish to the half, but the Sabercats connected when they needed to. Book and Rob Sonnenberg were on point from downtown, and the Sabercats grabbed a 32-29 lead going into halftime. MBU had the fans behind them and the momentum to boot.
MBU kept the edge in the second half but the tide began to turn. Correction: Crown turned the tide. The visitors amped up their physicality and their defense, and they began to take control of the game. Crown forced Maranatha off their mark, and the visitors ran out to a 17-point lead with just over five minutes left on the clock.
Throughout that period, neither team shot the ball particularly well. The Sabercats were forcing the issue, and there seemed to be no way of getting a connection. Aaron Sanders finally ended the MBU cold snap, but the Storm had established themselves as the leaders.
From there, the Storm closed out the game despite the Sabercats' best efforts. A late layup from Book made it a nine-point game, but that was as close as the Sabercats would come. After 40 minutes, the Storm had done its damage, and Crown had their win.
MBU Starters: 3-Book, 15-Lerma, 22-Sonnenberg, 23-Wilkerson, 30-Blake // CC Starters: 1-Oyugi, 3-Volness, 22-Jusczak, 33-Ledin, 42-Wendel
"Crown is one of the better teams we've played so far this year," said Coach Keith Salscheider. "They have wins against some top-level DIII teams. We had a slow start, and that kind of broke our back. We just lost our discipline in the last 10 minutes of the second half. We played outside the framework of our individual strengths, but the guys played hard, and we were much improved from Thursday and Friday."
- Sonnenberg: - 22 points - one shy of his career-best
- Book - 13 points, 10 rebounds
- MBU: shot 26.5 percent from the floor and had 10 turnovers in the second half
- Last year: MBU beat Crown, 91-81, in Minnesota
- Series: MBU leads the series, 10-4
- The Storm competes in the NCAA DIII UMAC Conference
- Crown currently ranks 3rd in the UMAC behind Northwestern and Bethany Lutheran
- The Storm has passed the century mark two different times this season
- Crown finished with a 13-13 record last season
The Sabercats will travel to Dubuque, Iowa for an NCCAA North Region matchup against Emmaus Bible on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.