NEW ULM - The Martin Luther College men's basketball team ran into another tough non-conference foe Saturday afternoon.
Bethel University came into the contest averaging just over 66 points per game. However, 50 percent shooting - including 11-for-24 from beyond the arc and 90 percent from the line - led the Royals to a 93-80 victory.
The loss puts the Knights at an 0-6 record on the season. Quite frankly, head coach Jim Unke isn't worried at all about the record, he just wants his team to be prepared for conference play.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Martin Luther College’s Galen Holzhueter (left) gets past a pair of Bethel University defenders on his way to the basket during the first half Saturday at MLC in New Ulm.
"The record doesn't mean anything to me because I play the best teams I can find," Unke said. "I don't put weak sisters on the schedule because I want us to be ready for the UMAC - and we will be. The record before Christmas doesn't bother me one bit."
It wasn't like MLC got blown out of the water - the Knights put on their best performance of the season, and early in the second half it looked like they had a good shot at pulling off the upset.
Down 10 at the break, 46-36, MLC came out making 12-of-15 shots in the first seven minutes and with 13:03 to go Luke Rothe's explosive lay-up gave the Knights their first lead of the game, 57-55. A minute later Rothe broke free again and laid it in, but for some reason after MLC's star junior Galen Holzhueter converted a three-point play with 10:58 to go, the Knights' offense went absolutely numb.
Bethel went on a 22-6 scoring spree and with 3:00 left, the game was essentially over when the Royals led 81-68. Bethel increased its lead to 91-74 with 14 seconds left and MLC managed to hit two 3-pointers from Rothe and Austin Eisenmann in the final six seconds of the game, but it was far too late for the Knights.
"We hit a streak where we didn't score for, like, four minutes right after we took the lead," Unke said. "They're a good basketball team and they answered our run. I was pretty happy with the way we played. We have a lot of young kids still learning and we are going to be just fine as the season goes on."
Holzhueter led the Knights in the game with 29 points and seven rebounds. Rothe finished with 22 points and two blocks, Josh Danell had 10 points, six rebounds and two blocks and Kaleb Buch had a team-high seven assists.
The Knights will be back in action on Monday night when they host Saint John's at 7:00 p.m.