NEW ULM - The Martin Luther College men's basketball team plays a difficult nonconference schedule, so wins and losses generally aren't as important to the Knights now as improving from game to game.
On Saturday, the Knights took some steps forward despite the scoreboard showing a 95-67 defeat to Central College.
MLC led early on and trailed by one midway through the first half, but turnovers and the 3-point shooting by the Dutch led turned a close game into a double-digit affair.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Martin Luther College's Galen Holzhueter (32) takes a shot over Matt Greenfield of Central College during the first half Saturday at MLC in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
The loss dropped MLC's record to 0-6 on the season and they committed 13 turnovers in the game, something that coach Jim Unke said has hurt the team recently.
"Turnovers really hurt us, we're trying to make some impossible passes and we just have to be a little more disciplined," he said.?"Central's a pretty good basketball team, they're picked to win their conference.
"But maybe what most people don't see in wins and losses is how much the team gets better, and this team is a lot better than we were last week," Unke said.
The Knights led 8-6 early and trailed 31-27 after coming back from a nine-point deficit, but 3-pointers were too much for them to overcome as Central stretched its lead to double digits (39-29) at halftime.
"It was frustrating, because we did what our coaches told us and as soon they passed it down to the big guy, we were focusing on him, they'd dish it out to one of the guards and they can all shoot 3s," sophomore guard Todd Brassow said.
Unke said that the Knights, who don't have a lot of height, are going to run into that problem of defending both the inside and outside all season.
"What happens is our perimeter is also helping inside, so it's kind of pick your poison," Unke said. "We try to work hard to take away the paint and the high-percentage shot, but then you get a team that's lighting it up from the outside.."
Central's lead grew in the second half as it continued to hit from the outside. It hit six 3-pointers in the first half and seven in the second.
Matt Greenfield led the way with 18 points for Central and Nate Munn had 17, including five 3-pointers. Nile Eckermann (16 points) and Kevin Kaerwer (14 points) helped lead the balanced scoring attack.
For MLC, Luke Rothe led the way with 22 points and Galen Holzhueter finished with 17 points. Brassow had 16 points and nine rebounds.
Central outrebounded MLC 54-39 and shot 46 percent from the field compared to 40 percent for the Knights.
MLC is back in action on Tuesday at Luther College.
Greenfield 7-15 2-2 18; Bakerink 4-8 0-0 8; Kaerwer 4-11 4-6 14; Eckermann 6-10 1-2 16; Markham 1-2 0-0 3; Pratt 2-6 5-8 9; Moore 0-2 0-0 0; Sapon-Amoah 2-6 0-0 4; Newendorp 2-4 0-0 4; Hauser 1-1 0-0 2; Taylor 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 35-76 12-19 95.
Holzhueter 8-19 1-2 17; Wilke 4-9 0-0 8; Koelpin 1-2 0-0 2; Rothe 9-26 4-5 22; Brassow 8-14 0-0 16; Paulsen 1-1 0-0 2; Lindner 0-3 0-0 0; Neumann 0-2 0-0 0; Schoenherr 0-0 0-0 0; Uhlhorn 0-1 0-0 0; Peterson 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 31-78 5-7 67.