MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The Crusaders nearly pulled off their first conference victory of the season, missing an opportunity to tie the game in the closing seconds of a 49-47 loss to the MSOE Raiders on Tuesday evening.
MSOE started on a tear, scoring the first 13 points of the game and owning 20-9 lead with 12 minutes left in the first period.
But the Crusaders charged back on a 17-9 run, closing out the half down, 31-26. Maranatha took advantage of MSOE’s 26% shooting in the second half, cutting the deficit to two on a layup by junior forward Kyle Kutz (Cambridge, Wis.) for a 35-33 score.
MSOE shot the lead back up to nine with 12 minutes in the game, but a pair of free-throws by senior guard Matthew McGivern (Milwaukee, Wis.) and a three-pointer by guard Matt Hunter (Pontiac, Ill.) cut the lead back to 46-44.
Maranatha knotted the game at 47 apiece with 1:59 on the clock, but it wouldn’t last long as MSOE’s Jeremiah Erdmann gave the Raiders a two-point lead with 1:23 left. Maranatha missed opportunities to tie the game on their next few possessions, but a late foul by the Raiders sent sophomore center Brett Cashner (Urbana, Ill.) to the line with 1.7 seconds in the game.
Cashner missed both free-throws and the Raiders slipped away with the win after retaining possession.
“We dug ourselves in a hole at the beginning, but we had a lot of good things going for us in the second half and played our best game of the season. It was a stepping stone as guys communicated well, boxed-out and played quality basketball. Give credit to MSOE, as they are well-coached and disciplined, but we’re definitely looking forward to the next few games with the progress we’ve made,” stated head coach Keith Salscheider.
Senior forward Joel Borchardt (Watertown, Wis.) finished the game with 14 points and 14 rebounds while McGivern recorded 13 points, five assists and nine rebounds, also shooting 7-8 from the free-throw line.
Maranatha hosts Marian University on Thursday, January 17 at 7:00 p.m.