NEW ULM - Despite a 12-point loss, the Martin Luther College men's basketball team did gain a little bit of confidence in Thursday's 89-77 nonconference loss to Viterbo.
MLC trailed by as many as 20 points in the second half as it appeared Viterbo had all of the momentum and was ready to run away. But the Knights came back, outscoring Viterbo in the second half.
In the end, the 20-point hole was just too much to crawl out of, but the Knights will use that comeback as motivation later in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference season.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Martin Luther College’s Luke Rothe makes pass between a pair of Viterbo defenders Thursday at MLC in New Ulm
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
Galen Holzhueter led the Knights with 26 points and Luke Rothe had 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Sophomore reserve Josh Lindner, who missed all of last season with an injury, scored a career-high 16 points.
The Knights led by one midway through the first half, but turnovers seemed to lead straight to points for the V-Hawks. MLC had eight turnovers in the first half and Viterbo had none. Viterbo also hit 6-of-12 from 3-point range to build the halftime lead to 45-31.
"I think that was a big part of it, also they couldn't miss in the first half,"?Lindner said.?"It was like they were unconscious, that and we just hit a lull there for a while. It's kind of a backbreaker, but you just gotta keep pushing through it."
The Knights used a better shot selection and took care of the ball in the second half to get back into the game. MLC committed only three turnovers in the second half and shot 49 percent from the field.
The Knights did trail by double digits for all of the second half, but they cut the lead to 83-73 on a 3-pointer by Michael Paulsen late in the game.
MLC outrebounded the V-Hawks 39-37. Austin Eisenmann finished with a game-high four blocks for the Knights, all of them coming in the first half.
Viterbo was led by Cole Lewis, who hit all 11 shots he took and finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds. David Shepard scored 23 points and Izac Sheforgen had 13 points.
"In the first half, they shot the lights out, so the nice thing is these guys never quit," MLC coach Jim Unke said. "We have to figure out a way not to go through those lulls. It's been a pattern now three games in a row. We have been down double digits and cutting it to single digits, then running out of time. Somehow we have to figure out a way to get at them early."
MLC (0-3) plays at Buena Vista on December 3.
Viterbo 45 44 - 89
MLC 31 46 -77
Shepard 8-13 4-4 23; Lewis 11-11 1-3 26; Turba 2-7 4-6 8; Drummond 2-7 0-0 4; Diciaula 2-12 0-0 5; Sheforgen 6-11 1-3 13; Bamke 3-3 2-3 10. Totals: 34-65 12-19 89.
Holzhueter 11-25 4-6 26; Koelpin 1-1 0-0 2; Rothe 6-14 4-6 18; Brassow 2-4 0-0 4; Wilke 2-4 2-6 6; Edmundson 0-0 0-0 0; Paulsen 1-2 0-0 3; Eisenmann 1-3 0-0 2; Lindner 6-7 2-3 16; Neumann 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 30-63 12-21 77