WATERTOWN, Wis. -- After career-high 27 points from Kelsey Johnson and a solid overall team effort, the Sabercats got some sweet revenge tonight.
With a 57-43 win over #6 Grace Christian University, the #9-ranked Sabercats moved above .500 for the season and reversed an earlier-season loss to GCU.
- Result: #9 Maranatha 57-43 #6 Grace Christian
- Venue: MBU Gymnasium
- Location: Watertown, Wis.
- Attendance: 262
- Records: MBU (7-6), GCU (13-15)
The first quarter was all about momentum. After the Sabercats jumped out to a 12-4 lead, the Tigers froze the Sabercats there and made it a one-point game. But just as the pendulum swung in GCU's favor, the Sabercats ended up on top when Callie Morrison scored a couple of points on the fast break and Trisha Wright beat the buzzer to send the Sabercats to the second quarter ahead 16-11.
The trend continued into the second quarter, as the Sabercats forced the Tigers off the mark, holding the Michigan squad to shooting just over 20 percent from the floor. Kelsey Johnson - as is her routine - moved into double-digit points on the night, compiling 14 in the first half alone. Johnson's efforts were half of the Sabercats' points, as they finished the half with a 28-20 lead.
In the third, the Tigers chipped away at the Sabercats lead to make it a one-possession game going into the final act. It seemed as if the visitors had learned their lessons the hard way and were now a little bit older and a little bit wiser. After three quarters, it was 38-35. The Sabercats still led. Barely.
Just when the pressure was heaviest, the Sabercats stepped up. Johnson led the way and MBU connected right when they needed to, restoring the lead to 11 points with just over two minutes left. From there, the Sabercats made their shots from the line to ultimately thwart the Tigers' attempts at a comeback.
After 40 minutes at MBU, Johnson had a night to remember, and the Sabercats had a big NCCAA win.
MBU Starters: 3-Morrison, 12-Johnson, 13-Johnson, 23-Torres, 32-Simpson // GCU Starters: 5-Harris, 11-Carlson, 40-Scholtens, 44-Long, 45-Hoek
- Kelsey: career-high 27 points - now has double-digit points in all but one game this year
- Morrison: 15 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists - her second straight game with 15 points
- MBU: first time above .500 since February of 2017
- Last Meeting: GCU beat MBU in January, 52-47
- Series: MBU leads the series 27-11
- The Tigers compete in the NCCAA DII Mideast Region
- GCU competed with the Sabercats in the old NCCAA II Midwest Region, moving to the Mideast for the 2016-17 season
- The Tigers were on a three-game winning streak coming into tonight
- Grace Christian finished the 2017-18 season with an NCCAA regional record of 4-3
The Sabercats will hit the road tomorrow for a 2:00 p.m. NCCAA North Region clash with Faith Baptist Bible College. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.