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Milwaukee School of Engineering shot nearly 50% and hit one big basket after another down the stretch, sending the Lakeland College men's basketball team to a 75-70 loss Thursday night at Woltzen Gymnasium.
The Muskies lost for the first time in Northern Athletics Conference play and saw their seven-game winning streak snapped. Lakeland dropped to 15-3 overall and 8-1 in the NAC North Division, while MSOE won for the seventh time in eight games and improved to 12-5 overall and 6-2 in the NAC North.
The Raiders were able to prevail in controlling tempo and won an ugly, physical game, as Lakeland shot just 39.4% (26-of-66) for the night, including 11-of-34 (32.4%) in the second half. MSOE also out-rebounded the Muskies 40-33.
The Raiders also were able to ruin a potentially huge night for Muskie senior Jake Schwarz (Sr.-Sheboygan, Wis.), who came into the game needing 23 points to surpass John Koslowski (1980-84) as the leading scorer in the school's men's basketball history. Schwarz finished with 14 points to become just the second Muskie men's player to reach 2,000 career points, but he finished the game eight points shy of tying Koslowski's record of 2,008 points.
The Raiders took the lead for good when a three-pointer by Austin Stueck made it 53-50 with 9:25 to play. MSOE hit five three-pointers in the final 10 minutes, including a pair of triples by Victor Bande in the final 1:18.
Lakeland closed within 65-63 after Schwarz hit a three-pointer with 2:33 to play, but Bande answered with a three to make it 68-63. The Muskies closed again when Joey Burris (So.-Kiel, Wis.) hit from long distance to make it 68-66, but after two timeouts the Bande was open in the corner and connected again to make it 71-66 with 27 seconds left. MSOE then closed the game hitting four free throws in the final 16 seconds.
The game started in promising fashion for the Muskies, who led 21-10 in the first half on as Brandon Hagenow (Fr.-Sussex, Wis.) had eight early points. Hagenow to the bench with two fouls with seven minutes left in the half, though, and the Raiders rallied back, eventually taking a four-point lead at 35-31.
Lakeland rallied back with seven straight points just before halftime and looked set to go to intermission with a lead, but Stueck hit a three-pointer from halfcourt at the buzzer to tie the game at 38-38 at the break.
Schwarz struggled from the field, shooting just 5-of-18, including 2-of-8 from three-point range. Hagenow and Justin Ward (Jr.-Wisconsin Dells, Wis.) both added 13 points and James Oshkeshequoam (Jr.-Keshena, Wis.) added 12.
Stueck led MSOE with 19 points and 12 rebounds and Bande added 15 points. The Raiders shot 26-of-53 (49.1%) and made eight of 18 three-point tries, including eight of their final 12 after starting the game 0-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Lakealnd is home again Saturday when it faces Rockford (Ill.) College at 4:15 p.m. at Woltzen Gymnasium. The game will be available to watch and listen to live online at http://www.lakeland.edu/muskieslive.