Muskies use efficient offense for workmanlike win over Eagles

More news about: Lakeland

The Lakeland College men's basketball team shot 50% from the field and committed just 10 turnovers, a formula for success in a 78-70 win over Edgewood College Monday night in a Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference game.

The Muskies improved to 12-3 in NACC play, remaining second in the conference and ensured their finishing no worse than fourth in the final NACC standings. With that, Lakeland also clinched a home game in the NACC Tournament quarterfinals and improved to 16-4 overall.

Other than another standout game from senior Justin Ward (Wisconsin Dells, Wis.), Lakeland was hardly flashy in Monday's makeup of a game postponed in January. The Muskies were still more than effective, though, mixing in a balanced offense with effective defense, particularly in the first half when the game turned.

Edgewood (9-10 overall, 7-7 NACC) challenged in the opening minutes, leading by four early before Lakeland turned the tide. The Muskies shifted to a zone defense and held the Eagles to just three points over an eight-minute span. Lakeland outscored Edgewood 18-3 over that stretch to take a 23-12 lead, and the visitors never seriously threatened again.

The Muskies led 32-23 at halftime and then survived a brief run by Edgewood getting within five early in the second half. Lakeland finally was able to get the pace pushed more to its liking, though, scoring 42 second half points, and the Muskies built the lead to a game-high 18 points when Travis Kell (Fr.-Madison, Wis.) scored inside to make it 65-47 with 6:39 to play. The Eagles got no closer than eight the rest of the way, with that coming on a three-pointer in the final seconds.

Ward finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, making 9 of 15 shots from the field. He moved up another spot on Lakeland's all-time scoring list, as his 1,535 career points surpassed the total of 1,526 by Ray Heck from 1969-73. Stan McKenzie (Jr.-Racine, Wis.) added 10 points and Joey Burris (Jr.-Kiel, Wis.) added nine points, five steals and four assists.

The Muskies shot 26 of 52 from the field and made 20 of 30 free throws (66.7%). Lakeland did struggle on the glass, getting outrebounded 41-33, including 16 offensive rebounds for Edgewood.

Tal Diekvoss led the Eagles with 14 points. Edgewood shot 42.9% from the floor (27 of 63) and was 9-for-28 from three-point range (32.1%). The Eagles also converted just 7 of 15 free throw attempts (46.7%).

Lakeland is back in action Wednesday night when it hosts Wisconsin Lutheran College at 7 p.m. at the Woltzen Gymnasium. Wednesday night's game will be available to watch live on TV in the Sheboygan area on WSCS, Sheboygan's public access channel.