Muskies Lose Heartbreaker to UW-La Crosse; Saiberlich Reaches 1,000 Career Points
Athletics - posted on 11/17/2007
Despite a great second half effort and a career milestone for senior Kris Saiberlich, the Lakeland College men's basketball team fell in its season opener to visiting UW-La Crosse, 70-68, on Saturday, Nov. 17.
The Muskies (0-1) fell behind early, and were down, 36-22, at the half. Lakeland turned it on in the second half at tied at game at 49 with 10:21 left in the contest. Lakeland led 57-56 with 6:48 remaining on a lay-up by senior Shane Grube, but the Eagles came right back to regain the lead, and held on to it until Saiberlich hit a free throw with seven seconds remaining to tie the game at 68. UW-La Crosse guard Brandon Brown drive the length of the court and his lay-up as the horn sounded gave the Eagles the win.
"We felt like this was a good test for us," said Lakeland head coach Kyle Brumett. "La Crosse is a great team and is well-coached, but we felt like this was a game we could win since it was tied with seven seconds left.
"The second half was played at our pace and they had a hard time dealing with it, but the first half was the complete opposite. It was a walk it up and slow it down type of game. I was happy how our guys responded after the first half. They came out in the second half with a much better focus and intensity. I feel like we played in the second half the way we are capable of playing."
Despite Lakeland's improvement in the second half, the squad still finished the game shooting 38.2 percent from the field, 26.1 from behind the 3-point arc. Lakeland was also 20-of-35 (57.1 percent) at the line.
"The biggest challenge this team has coming off of last season is learning how to put two halves together," Brumett said. "This game was just the opposite of what happened to us last season where we put together really good first halves and poor second halves. I was proud of the older guys because they recognized it and were disappointed in themselves. We're going to come in tomorrow and work hard and get better and hopefully that will get our season going in right direction."
Saiberlich achieved the 1,000 career points milestone 14:23 into the second half of the game, scoring all 18 of his points in the second half.
"I wasn't even thinking about it in the second half," Saiberlich said. "I just got caught up in the game. It's a good individual accomplishment, but the first game of the season is the last time you are thinking about individual accomplishments. I'm sure in the long run I'll look back on it and be proud, but it's difficult to do that now because of the loss."
"He just went over 1,000 points tonight, and he really responded in the second half," said Brumett. "That is what we expect out of Kris. He has to play like that for us to have success, and he holds himself accountable. He is one of the hardest working kids I have ever coached. He is a joy to coach. He is competitive and he's going to have a great year. "
In addition to Saiberlich, Grube also scored in double-digits with 12 points in the contest.
"The guy who almost single-handedly got us back in the game was Shane Grube," said Brumett. "Shane started quite a few games last year for us, and is coming off the bench this season. He had seven big points for us in the second half and was really aggressive."
Senior Danny Ehnert led the Muskies on the glass with nine boards, while senior Aaron Regal chipped in three assists and seven points. Senior David Hoerres came off the bench for seven points and five rebounds, while freshman Chas White also contributed nine points and six boards.
"David Hoerres and Chas White really gave us a spark off the bench in the second half," said Brumett. "I challenged them in the locker room to rebound, and they really did in the second half. I am really proud of both of them."
The Muskies will continue non-conference action at home on Monday, Nov. 19, as they take on Trinity International University. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
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