Crusaders hold off late rally to beat Edgewood College

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Box Score

WATERTOWN, Wis. – The shooting touch that has been so elusive at times for the Edgewood College men's basketball team escaped again for a long stretch in the first half on Thursday night at Maranatha Baptist Bible College. The result was a 14-point halftime deficit, that the Eagles couldn't close until a barrage of late three-pointers in a 70-65 loss. The setback snapped a six-game winning streak over the Crusaders dating back to 2010.

Edgewood College (4-15, 3-7 NAC) started well opening the game on a 9-2 run capped by a three-point basket by Tal Diekvoss. Diekvoss was one of three Eagles making their first career starts for Edgewood College along with Jake Heuer and Dillon GilpatrickJoe Klocek hit another three-point basket to tie the game at 16-16 with 11:22 to go before halftime, but that was the point Edgewood College went cold. Maranatha Baptist (5-12, 1-9 NAC) finished the half on a 17-3 run as the Eagles missed their final 10 shots from the field and five free throws.

The Eagles were behind by as many as 19 points at 44-25 early in the second half. Edgewood College still trailed 60-45 with two minutes left in the game, when the lid on the basket suddenly lifted. Diekvoss and Michael Janusek started the run with a pair of three-point baskets. After a Dylan Rusch layup and a three-point play by Justin Williams, the Eagles were within 67-59 with 25 seconds left.

The Crusaders gave the Eagles a sliver of hope by going for 1-for-2 on their last three trips to the free throw line. Diekvoss and Rusch both connected on another three-point baskets, but there wasn't enough time left to complete the comeback. In all, the Eagles made nine of 17 three-point attempts in the second half and scored 46 points after halftime.

Rusch led Edgewood College with 15 points including a 3-for-6 effort from the three-point line and a team-high four assists. Janusek scored 12 points, while Diekvoss also went 3-for-6 from the arc and totaled 11 points. Janusek, Diekvoss and Williams all finished with five rebounds each. The Eagles shot 48.1 percent in the second half, but just 38.5 percent for the game. The 11 made three-pointers for the Eagles were a season-high and the most in a single game since Edgewood College made 11 triples against Concordia University Chicago on February 18 last season.

Edgewood College will head south to Dominican University (9-10, 7-4 NAC) for their next game this Saturday. The Eagles currently sit three and a half games out of a NAC Tournament berth with six regular season games left to play.