WATERTOWN, Wis. – The Crusaders rode the efforts of junior center Laci Peterson (Chillicothe, Ill.) to their 13th conference victory, defeating Benedictine University, 70-56 on Saturday evening.
A 24-13 Maranatha lead was aided by Peterson, who went 3-3 from beyond the arc and had 13 first-half points. Peterson would finish the game with 23 points, eight blocks and four rebounds.
The 6-0 center is now averaging five blocks per game, first in the NCAAIII. As a team, Maranatha averages 8.5 blocks per game, also first in the NCAAIII.
Maranatha carried a 14-point lead at one point in the first half en route to a 31-20 halftime lead, but Benedictine used a 14-3 run in the first five minutes of the second half to tie the game at 34-34.
After two lead exchanges, Maranatha swung the lead back in their favor by nine points off a Peterson free-throw, but the Eagles inched their way as close as a four-point deficit before succumbing to free-throws.
Senior forward Torey DeLozier was key down the stretch, hitting crucial layups while going 8-8 from the charity stripe.
DeLozier recorded another double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds while senior guard Hallie Sheley (Rockford, Ill.) chipped in 11 points.
Maranatha faces Edgewood College at home on Thursday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m.