WLC's Upset Bid Falls Short Against BenU In NACC Semifinals

Photo Credit: Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
Photo Credit: Steve Frommell, d3photography.com

LISLE, Ill. (WLCSports.com) – The Wisconsin Lutheran College men's basketball team found itself in a battle with 11th-ranked Benedictine on Friday night in the semifinals of the 2017 NACC Tournament. The Warriors trailed by just one point with under 10 minutes left, but a 13-2 run by the Eagles was too much to overcome as top-seeded BenU defeated fourth-seeded WLC, 72-63, inside the Rice Center.

THE BASICS

  • Final Score: No. 1 Benedictine 72, No. 4 Wisconsin Lutheran 63
  • Records: Wisconsin Lutheran (16-11), Benedictine (22-4)
  • Location: Rice Center, Lisle, Ill. | Attendance: 624

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • The defending NACC champions came out of the gates firing as they led 8-2 early after the first media timeout.
  • WLC took its first lead of the game at the 7:14 mark of the first half when Chase Nowak (Milwaukee, Wis./St. Francis) drained a three-pointer for his eighth straight point and a 19-18 Warriors lead.
  • The Warriors capped off a 10-0 run for their largest lead of the game at 23-18, before BenU rattled off a 13-2 run to end the half and take a 31-25 halftime lead.
  • Wisconsin Lutheran shot 31.3 percent in the opening 20 minutes, compared to Benedictine's 34.4 percent from the floor. The Warriors held BenU to 28.6 percent on 4-of-14 from behind the arc. 
  • The Eagles extended their lead to as many as 12 in the early stages of the second half, but WLC battled back to cut its deficit to just three with 15:33 left in the game.
  • The Warriors found themselves trailing by just a point, 51-50, with 9:34 remaining, but the hosts used a 13-2 run over the span of 4:19 to take control of the game.
  • Benedictine never saw its lead drop below seven points down the stretch of the game to advance to Sunday's championship game.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • Nowak paced the Warriors with a game-high 21 points and Tanner Schieve (Slinger, Wis./Slinger) added 20 points to the backcourt.
  • Collin Kennedy (Holmen, Wis./Luther) reached double-figures for the eighth consecutive game, scoring 11 points. Tyler De Young (Waupun, Wis./Central Wisconsin Christian) grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
  • The Warriors shot 33.3 percent (21-for-63) for the game, but just 27.8 percent (5-for-18) from behind the three-point line. BenU finished shooting 41.9 percent (26-for-62) from the floor. WLC held the Eagles to just 6-for-26 from behind the arc.
  • The Eagles held the advantage on the glass (45-39) and bench points (19-8).
  • Benedictine had three players reach double-figures, led by Tahron Harvey's 19 points, 11 boards, and eight assists. Adam Reynolds added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
  • The Warriors' 16 wins are their most since the 2007-2008 squad finished with 18. WLC's 12 conference wins tie for second-most all-time. 
  • Both Schieve and Kennedy surpassed the 1,000-point plateau during Friday's contest.
  • Wisconsin Lutheran is just the third team to lose to BenU by single-digits this season.
  • Friday's game marked the final career contests for seniors Schieve, Alex Foster (Kenosha, Wis./St. Joseph), Jake Van Fleet (Muskego, Wis./Muskego), and Christian Walz (Waukesha, Wis./West).
  • Benedictine will defend its NACC Tournament crown on Sunday when it hosts third-seeded Concordia Wisconsin.