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The Lakeland men's basketball team used a big second-half rally to force overtime, but it wasn't enough as Milwaukee School of Engineering escaped with a 63-56 victory in Milwaukee Wednesday night.
The Muskies (10-7, 6-4) remain tied for third in what's becoming a crowded Northern Athletics Conference race. Edgewood, Marian and Wisconsin Lutheran are tied for second at 6-3, three games behind unbeaten league leader Aurora. Lakeland is a game out of second, tied with Concordia, Wis.
Lakeland trailed by 15, 37-22, with 12:30 to play before finally finding its offensive touch. MSOE led 23-18 at the half as the host Raiders shot just 29 percent and Lakeland shot 28 percent.
Shane Grube made a pair of free throws with two seconds left in regulation to force the overtime. But MSOE (10-7, 5-5) scored 11 of its 13 points in overtime from the free throw line to seal their third straight NAC win. The Raiders made 25 of 35 free throws in the game, while Lakeland made 8 of 12.
"We didn't come out with the kind of mentality it takes to compete at a high level," said Lakeland head coach Kyle Brumett. "That dug us a hole like it has a few times this year. It was nice that the guys didn't quit and fought all the way back, but we had many, many open shots that we just didn't make. We you're giving teams stops when they really didn't stop you, the hole that you're digging is just too hard to climb out of."
Sophomore guard Khendal Andrews led the Muskies with 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while senior Kris Saiberlich added 12 points and senior Danny Ehnert had a team-best 10 rebounds.
"Khendal played his best game as a Muskie," Brumett said. "He played with a lot of energy and did a great job. We didn't have enough other guys who were playing with the passion that they should be. We are an experienced group for the most part, and we need to be there for each other a little bit more than we are."
The Muskies, who have dropped three straight NAC games, will try and stop the skid Saturday when they return home to host Benedictine at 4:15 p.m.