Seniors Shine as Muskies Upset WLC in Overtime
Athletics - posted on 2/26/2008
Senior guards Aaron Regal, Kris Saiberlich and Shane Grube shot a collective 62 percent from 3-point range to help carry the Lakeland College men's basketball team to a thrilling 99-94 overtime victory over Wisconsin Lutheran in the Northern Athletics Conference quarterfinal round on Tuesday, Feb. 26, in Milwaukee, Wis.
The Muskies, seeded No. 6 in the tournament, upset the No. 3 seeded Warriors after falling to them, 103-94, in their only other meeting this season.
"We got off to a really good start," said Lakeland head coach Kyle Brumett, whose team had previously posted an 0-4 record in overtime this season. "Our preparation was to defend them better than we did last time, and I think we really followed that plan in the first half to set the tone for the game."
Regal was nearly perfect from both the 3-point line and the free throw line, as he sank four of his five attempts from long range and went 12-13 from the charity stripe to register a game-high 28 points. Saiberlich knocked down eight 3-pointers, six in the first half, to follow with 26 points, while Grube made six of his attempts from long-range to add 21 points.
While the colossal offensive efforts of those three seniors helped give the Muskies a 45-33 advantage at halftime, the Warriors weren't about to roll over on their home court.
Lutheran made a run with less than five minutes to go in regulation, and Lakeland found itself trailing by four. However, a few clutch shots helped the Muskies tie it back up, 77-77, to send the game into the extra period.
As daunting as it may sound to head into overtime on an opponent's home court, it didn't seem to bother the Muskies at all, as they shot 5-for-7 from the floor, including three 3-pointers. Regal topped it off by shooting a clutch 9-10 from the free throw line in overtime alone to guarantee his squad at least one more game this season.
"It feels great to finally get a win in overtime this season," Grube said. "We didn't come into this game feeling like the underdog because we have a lot of seniors with experience. Knowing that the season was on the line, we didn't want this to be our last game."
The Muskies' five seniors certainly played as inspired as Grube describes, as four of them reached double-digits. Forward Danny Ehnert finished just one assist shy of a triple-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
"I'm really proud of how much our guys stayed together and how they hung in there at the end," Brumett said. "For as many overtime losses we have had this year, we were due. Saiberlich and Grube really stepped up, Danny made some great plays, and Regal made his free throws. All three of our perimeter guys made some big plays, and Pete Worth played great defense on their best player."
With this reassuring win under their belts, the Muskies will move on to Thursday's NAC Tournament semifinal game at No. 2 Marian College.
"This game gives us lots of confidence going to Marian," Brumett said. "It's going to be tough, but hopefully we can take care of business."
Lakeland is 1-1 this season with the Sabres, who downed No. 7 Edgewood, 76-63, in their quarterfinal game. The Muskies fell in Marian's house in their first encounter, 86-80, but will look to register a repeat of their second performance at home where they scored a 69-55 victory.
"We just have to take it one game at a time," Grube said. "We played much better defense and shot well tonight, so hopefully we can play like that again and get the same outcome."
Thursday's tip-off time with Marian is set for 7 p.m. in Fond du Lac, Wis.
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