GALESBURG, Ill. -- In a close game from start to finish, the Sabercats came away from Knox College with a memorable win in more ways than one.
It all came together for MBU, as the Sabercats earned their first win of the season and Coach Joel Borchardt picked up his first career win as full-time head coach.
- Result: Maranatha 72-67 Knox
- Venue: Memorial Gymnasium, Knox College
- Location: Galesburg, Ill.
- Attendance: 200
- Records: MBU (1-4), KC (2-2)
The lead changed hands 10 times in the opening 20 minutes, as MBU and KC fought it out in a rematch of last year's chippy, one-possession game. Fittingly, it was a two-point game at the halftime break, as Stephen Wilkerson drilled a three at the one-minute mark to give Maranatha a one-possession advantage going into the locker room.
The Sabercats shared the load in the first half and would follow that trend all night. In a well-balanced first-half performance, Taylor Ball (six points), Brenden Caldwell (six points), and Wilkerson (seven points) all shared the load as the Sabercats followed their usual routine of a solid first half.
But unlike the other games this season, the Sabercats continued the trend and even stepped it up in the second half. Maranatha scored a combined 43 points to add to their 29 first-half points, keeping Knox just out of reach when it mattered most.
The Sabercats got hot with their shooting, performing at a rate of 54 percent in the second half. Ball, Caldwell, Wilkerson, and Aaron Sanders all lept into double digits, and Sanders led everybody with a dozen points on 5-7 shooting.
Everything was clicking for Maranatha down the stretch, and Ball and Caldwell stepped up to knock down a combined five free throws in the final possessions of the game, as MBU sealed a hard-earned win to open the wins column for the 2019-20 season.
MBU Starters: 2- Ball, 3- Mayhak, 5- Sanders, 13- Caldwell, 23- Wilkerson
- Ball: 15 PTS, 6 REB
- Sanders: 14 PTS, 3 REB
- Caldwell: 14 PTS
- Wilkerson: 13 PTS, 8 REB
- MBU: shot 54 percent from the floor and from downtown in the second half
- Last year: The Prairie Fire won 71-68 at home last year
- Series: Knox now leads the all-time series 2-1
- Knox competes in the Midwest Conference (NCAA DIII)
- Knox opened the season with back-to-back wins against Principia and Eureka
- Knox's lone win in 2018-19 came against MBU
The Sabercats will host Faith Baptist Bible College on December 7 for a 4:00 p.m. tipoff. Follow at mbusabercats.com/schedule.