WATERTOWN, Wis. – The Crusaders pulled off their first conference victory in two years, defeating Edgewood College, 70-65 on Thursday evening amidst a raucous crowd.
Maranatha fell behind 9-2 in the opening minutes of the first half, but adjusted quickly with a 27-9 run, capped by a Joel Borchardt (Watertown, Wis.) layup to force an Edgewood timeout at 29-16.
Maranatha continued its dominance in the paint with an 18-4 advantage, led by Borchardt’s 12 first-half points on 6-11 shooting.
An effective inside game opened up outside shooting, and penetration, as the team shot 50% from the field and 42% from three-point range.
Maranatha even got help from junior forward Scott Sutter (Cincinnati, Ohio), a transfer from the University of Cincinnati who’s first shot as a Crusader was a three-pointer. Scott finished with seven points and four rebounds in 18 minutes of action.
The surge continued in the second half, with a 19-point Crusader lead while the team hit crucial shots to keep Edgewood out of reach, but a late push by the Eagles, including five three-pointers in crunch time, dropped Maranatha’s lead to 69-65 with 13 seconds left.
Sophomore guard Tanner Moses (Lodi, Wis.) hit one of his free-throws in the final seconds, and Scott retained possession on a missed three-pointer to seal the win.
Borchardt finished the game 6-13 for 16 points and nine rebounds while sophomore center Brett Cashner (Urbana, Ill.) had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Moses also finished 3-7 from the field and 9-10 from the free-throw line for 16 points.
“Give credit to an Edgewood team that has a great system in place, but had an off night and some guys out due to injury. We played a great game as evidenced by our ball movement, and a lot of guys hit shots for us. The help down low really opened up shots for guys like Matt Hunter, Joel, and the whole team,” stated head coach Keith Salscheider.
The Crusaders travel to Rockford, Ill. on Saturday to face the Regents at 4:15 p.m.