- Evening, Weekend & Online Programs
- ALUMNI RELATIONS
- GIVING TO LAKELAND
- ABOUT LAKELAND
The Lakeland College men's basketball team tightened up the Northern Athletics Conference race, handing visiting Marian its first league loss Wednesday, 69-55.
It's the seventh straight victory for the Muskies, but in the eyes of head coach Kyle Brumett, it was the season's biggest win to date.
"Hands down," said Brumett, whose team hasn't lost since an 86-80 setback at Marian on Dec. 4. "This was a huge game for us because we've been talking about this game since we lost to them. When you win games like this you put yourself in a position to be playing for first place in the league. We're right where we need to be."
The Muskies, 9-4 overall, are 5-1 in the NAC, tied for second place with Marian (7-5, 5-1), a game behind league-leader and preseason favorite Aurora (6-0).
Lakeland dominated Marian on the boards, holding a big 41-22 rebound edge as senior Shane Grube grabbed 11 and classmate Danny Ehnert added eight. The Muskies made 28 of 35 free throws, as senior guards Aaron Regal and Kris Saiberlich were a combined 20 of 20 from the foul line.
"We've talked a lot since the loss at Marian about defensive toughness, and it's shown up in quite a few games during this run," said Brumett, whose team is holding opponents to 58 points per game during the seven-game win streak after allowing the opposition 78.3 points in the season's first six games.
"All five of our seniors at times have taken a beating from me about their need to be better defensively, and instead of thinking 'We're seniors, we don't need to listen' they have embraced it. When you have Shane going to the glass like that from the perimeter, it helps our defense so much."
Regal finished with a game-high 21 points and Saiberlich added 18 as the two combined to score 34 of Lakeland's 43 points in the second half.
"We've talked a lot to those two individually that if we're going to be the team we think we can be, we need those two shooting free throws," Brumett said. "You've got to be aggressive; you can't just live with shooting from the 3-point line. Those two have really expanded their games to include that aggressiveness."
Lakeland led 26-21 at the half despite shooting just 26 percent, than opened the second half with a 10-2 run and the lead never slipped under double digits.
"We talked about that at the half, that if you shoot like that you would think you would be down and getting drilled," Brumett said. "That goes with that toughness thing. Our guys made it tough on them tonight and went to the glass."
Lakeland puts its win streak on the line Saturday when it hosts Concordia Chicago at approximately 4:15 p.m., the second half of a doubleheader with the women's basketball team.