Warriors Unable To Close Out Eagles In OT Heartbreaker

Photo Credit: Jeff Wilson
Photo Credit: Jeff Wilson

LISLE, Ill. (WLCSports.com) - The Wisconsin Lutheran College men's basketball team couldn't hold onto its 10-point lead in the final two minutes of regulation as two-time defending NACC champion Benedictine forced overtime and escaped with a 102-98 win over the Warriors Saturday afternoon inside the Rice Center. Chase Nowak (Milwaukee, Wis.) scored a career-high 36 points in the loss, tying for ninth-most in a game in program history.

THE BASICS

  • Final Score: Benedictine 102, Wisconsin Lutheran 98 (OT)
  • Records: Wisconsin Lutheran (1-8, 1-4 NACC), Benedictine (5-3, 5-0 NACC)
  • Location: Rice Center, Lisle, Ill.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • The majority of the first half featured back-and-forth action with neither team being able to separate themselves. The Eagles built their largest lead of the game of just five points at the 13:48 mark.
  • The Warriors grabbed the final lead of the first half following seven ties and eight lead changes after Nowak drained a pair of free throws for a 37-36 lead with 4:58 remaining.
  • Wisconsin Lutheran's lead climbed to as many as nine (50-41) with under two minutes left before Benedictine came within six (50-44) at halftime.
  • The Warriors shot a blistering 57.1 percent in the first half, but the Eagles kept their deficit to six points by making more free throws (12) and then Warriors attempted (9). Nowak led all scorers with 17 first-half points on 7-of-8 shooting, while Collin Kennedy (Holmen, Wis.) was right behind with 16.
  • WLC built its first double-digit lead with 15:39 left in the second half and never let its lead squander below six points for the next 14 minutes. The Warriors jumped out to a game-high 14-point lead, 84-70, after a Nowak jumper with 5:23 remaining.
  • Wisconsin Lutheran maintained a double-digit lead until the 2:04 mark when the Eagles began to chip away. BenU's Jens Soderholm scored 10 of his team's final 14 points of regulation, including a game-tying three-pointer with 0:36 seconds left to tie the game at 90-90 and send it to overtime. WLC committed a trio of turnovers during that span.
  • The Warriors grabbed the first lead of overtime 0:30 seconds in, but the Eagles answered for the first of four ties in the final 3:37.
  • Trailing 98-95, Mack Knueppel (Jackson, Wis.) hit a three-pointer with 0:33 seconds left to even the score.
  • Benedictine drew a foul on its next possession with just 0:02 seconds left on the clock and Brayden Olson made a pair from the charity stripe to give the hosts a two-point lead. After a long Warriors inbounds pass sailed out of bounds, two more Eagles free throws sent the final score to 102-98.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

  • Nowak led three players in double-figures with a career-high 36 points on 15-of-21 shooting. Collin Kennedy dropped in 30 points, his third 30-plus point game of the season, and Colin Biesterfeld (West Bend, Wis.) added a career-best 13 points.
  • Collin Kennedy also corralled a team-high 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Tyler De Young (Waupun, Wis.) also pulled down nine boards.
  • The Warriors shot 52.8 percent (38-for-72) from the floor and 52.9 percent (9-for-17) from three-point range, both season-highs.
  • WLC struggled from the free-throw line, shooting a season-low 56.5 percent (13-for-23).

FOR THE FOES

  • Jens Soderholm scored 32 points in 37 minutes off the bench for the Eagles to lead four in double-figures. Brayden Olson netted 24, while Kejuan Glosson and Eric Grygo had 15 and 11, respectively. Grygo added 12 rebounds for a double-double.
  • Benedictine, which has 15 straight conference games, shot 45.3 percent (34-for-75) for the game and 76.7 percent (23-for-30) from the charity stripe.
  • BenU extended its winning streak over WLC to 12 straight.

UP NEXT

  • The Warriors have off the next two weeks for Christmas and will resume their six-game road trip Saturday, December 30 at Aurora (5-4, 4-2 NACC). Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. inside Thornton Gymnasium. Links to live stats and video will be available for the game at WLCSports.com.