Ward, Muskies battle back from big deficit to defeat Falcons

More news about: Lakeland

Justin Ward (Sr.-Wisconsin Dells, Wis.) hit another career high with 35 points and the Lakeland College men's basketball team fought all the way back from a big early deficit to defeat Concordia University Wisconsin 95-88 Wednesday evening at the R. John Buuck Fieldhouse.

The Muskies trailed almost the entire game and were down by as many as 16 points in the first half but chipped away all night and finally went ahead late for their fourth straight win. Lakeland improved to 15-4 overall, 11-3 in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference, and swept the season series with the Falcons, who dropped to 9-11 overall (7-8 NACC).

Ward led the way again with another terrific performance. The senior topped his previous career high of 34 set early this season by making 15 of 21 shots from the floor. He also added 10 rebounds and four steals and finished with his 11th double-double of the season.

Ward also scored the go-ahead hoop with 1:58 to play in the game for the Muskies' first lead of the contest. Lakeland never led for the first 38 minutes before that but would never trail again, finishing the game by making all eight of its free throws in the final minute.

The Muskies were on their heels from the start, falling behind 22-6 less than seven minutes into the game. Concordia came out red hot, hitting eight of its first 11 shots, and continued to scorch the nets throughout the first half, shooting 63.6% from the field in taking a 53-47 halftime lead.

Lakeland also shot it well, hitting 57.9% in the first half and getting as close as three points late in the half. The Muskies fell back behind again early in the second half, though, going down as much as 12 on two occasions, the last time at 70-58 after Dustin Thumann scored with 15:10 to play.

The Muskies cooled off the Falcons in the second half, holding the hosts to 43.8% shooting in the half and 53.8% (35 of 65) for the game. Lakeland finished the game shooting 56.1%, hitting 37 of 66 from the floor.

Joey Burris (Jr.-Kiel, Wis.) supported Ward with 18 points as well as five rebounds, four assists and four steals. Brandon Hagenow (So.-Sussex, Wis.) also added a season-high 16 points, making 6 of 9 from the field. Stan McKenzie (Jr.-Racine, Wis.) also added 10 points, all in the first half.

Eric Kittel led Concordia with 22 points, hitting 9 of 14 from the field as well as four three-pointers. Garrett Wenzelburger added 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

The Muskies are on the road again Saturday when they face Concordia University Chicago at 2 p.m. in River Forest, Ill.