Vikings open UMAC season with win over MLC

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello Martin Luther College forward Jack Heichelbech (22) takes a shot during the second half of the Knight’s loss to Bethany Lutheran Wednesday at MLC in New Ulm.

NEW ULM — Having less than a full week of practices with its full team intact, the Martin Luther College men’s basketball team looked a little out of sync at times on Tuesday night.

The Knights, who trailed by 7 points at halftime, scored the first basket of the second half and trailed 44-39 to Upper Midwest Athletic Conference rival Bethany Lutheran College. But the Knights watched as the Vikings slowly built a double-digit lead and ran away with an 85-68 victory over the Knights at MLC.

Senior Ian Paulsen led the Knights (1-3, 0-1) with 20 points and eight rebounds. Austin DeNoyer came off the bench to score 10 points and he grabbed eight rebounds and Jack Heichelbech scored 9 for MLC.

The Vikings (4-2, 1-0) got off to a quick start, grabbing a 7-0 lead thanks in part to a 3-pointer by Jared Milinkovich.

Down 15-5, MLC went on a mini run and cut the deficit to 17-11, only to see the Vikings go on a 7-0 run again to go ahead 24-11. Trailing 39-23 late in the first half, the Knights finished the half strong and went on a 14-5 run and went into halftime down 44-37.

The Knights got to within 5 points to start the second half, but that was as close as it got.

Joseph Hirsch scored 8 points for the Knights.

Trenton Krueger led the Vikings with 22 points and Cire Mayfield finished with 16 points and four steals. Brian Smith had 10 points, 10 rebounds and six steals. The Vikings out-rebounded MLC 63-47.

MLC hosts Northwestern on Saturday.