Rough first half dooms MLC in loss

File photo by Steve Muscatello Martin Luther College’s Richard Eckmann takes a shot during a recent game at MLC in New Ulm.

NEW ULM — Without their top two scorers, Martin Luther College was facing an uphill-battle against Northwestern College in Saturday’s game.

Throw in a rough first half defensively and it wasn’t looking good for the Knights as the Eagles shot 56 percent in the first 20 minutes.

MLC (2-13, 1-6) outscored Northwestern in the second half but lost the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball battle 72-56 on Saturday.

Because their top two scorers were out (T.J. Babinec and Ian Paulsen), the Knights were forced to find other options. Austin DeNoyer stepped up and scored 12 points and was the only player in double figures for the Knights. Nate Lindloff and Joey Behm each scored 9 points and Jacob Price finished with 7 points.

While the Knights trailed 41-20 at halftime, they managed to outscore Northwestern 32-31 in the second half.

“We just wanted to go out with the mentality of playing hard,” DeNoyer said. “We knew it was next man up and we just wanted to give our best effort and play as well as we could.”

The Eagles had their way offensively in the first half as they were able to run their offense and convert many easy baskets. MLC shot only 27 percent in the half and the halftime speech by coach Greg Holzhueter was pretty simple.

“He didn’t like our effort in the first half and I’ll agree,” DeNoyer said. “He just said he wanted more effort and we just wanted to give more.”

The Knights responded with a better second half but the damage had already been done in the first half. They shot 33 percent for the game and Northwestern shot 49 percent.

Tanner Youngberg and Caleb Hageman each scored 14 for the Eagles and Isaiah Rahier finished with 11 points.

MLC travels to Crown on Wednesday.


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