WATERTOWN, Wis. -- The chips were down, but the Sabercats grinded it out tonight, posting a gutsy comeback win over their North Region rivals.
An 80-70 win at Moody Bible Institute was fueled by a career-high 34-point performance from Stephen Wilkerson, as the Sabercats remain undefeated in NCCAA North Region play.
- Result: Maranatha 80-70 Moody
- Venue: Maranatha Baptist University
- Location: Watertown, Wis.
- Attendance: 398
- Record: MBU (9-10), MBI (1-18)
Sometimes you just have to find a way to win. That was the theme of the night, as the Sabercats had to battle the home-court advantage from Moody to get the job done. Wilkerson got the job started with 13 first-half points, but the Sabercats struggled to find clean looks, shooting just 33 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
Going into halftime, the Sabercats were trailing by four against the same team they had beaten by 30 just a couple of weeks prior.
But patience is a virtue, and the Sabercats were more than patient in the second half - they were persistent. MBU stayed within a possession of Moody in the opening exchanges and eventually took the lead when a red-hot Wilkerson connected from downtown near the 15-minute mark. The lead changed hands multiple times in the following minutes, but Moody held the lead and wouldn't let go until the Sabercats forced it. The key moment came when Jed Mayhak nailed a three with 1:41 left on the clock, and the Sabercats would hold onto the lead from that point on. The Sabercats would hold on thanks to a perfect 6-6 shooting performance from the free throw line, as Mayhak and Wilkerson sealed the deal from the charity stripe.
The Sabercats breathed a significant sigh of relief when it was all said and done, as they survived a night at the Solheim Center once again.
MBU Starters: 2- Ball, 3- Mayhak, 4- Steuerwald 5- Sanders, 23- Wilkerson
- Wilkerson: 34 PTS (Career-high), 10 REB
- Tyler Reid: 12 PTS, 6 REB
- Mayhak: 11 PTS, 7 REB (Career-high)
- Aaron Sanders: 9 PTS, 4 AST
- MBU: Shot 33 percent in the first half; 49 percent in the second
- Last year: The Sabercats won 82-54
- Series: Maranatha now leads the all-time series 49-15
- Moody competes with the Sabercats for the NCCAA North Region
- Moody took 2nd place to MBU in last year's North Region Championship
- Moody's lone win this season came with a 124-point performance against Emmaus Bible College
The Sabercats will travel to Crown College on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. to make up the postponed game from January. Find details at mbusabercats.com/schedule.