Balge, Knights hold off Northland

Staff photo by Ari Selvey Martin Luther College’s Ethan Kjenstad moves in the post during an Upper Midwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball game Saturday at MLC.

NEW ULM — Langston Flowers’ final shot for Northland College fell short as Martin Luther College took home a 72-69 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball win Saturday at MLC.

MLC’s Thomas Balge was able to hit two free throws in the bonus with 16.2 seconds to play to help seal the victory after a back-and-forth game with a lot of emotion.

Balge led the Knights with 19 points and three rebounds, while Micah Kieselhorst had 17 points and eight rebounds. Ethan Kjenstad added 15 points and seven rebounds, while Trey Lauber had 12 points and three rebounds.

The game started with Northfield on top, getting out to a 15-6 lead before Lauber cut into the lead with a 3-pointer. MLC battled back to a 20-19 deficit, but Northland kept them at bay with a 3 by Flowers. The Knights continued to work at getting the lead back, and MLC’s final shot of the half was a stepback 3-pointer by Kieselhorst to tie the game at 35.

MLC took their first lead of the game to open the second half, with Balge getting a paint shot to drop before Kjenstad hit a layup to put the Knights up 39-5. MLC exteded their lead to as much as 54-44, but the Lumberjacks didn’t go away easy as Northland went on a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 56-51. Northland continued to fight to take back the lead, getting to within a single point, 65-64. The game stayed within a possession until Kjenstad hit a layup to put the Knights up 70-66, but Flowers responded with a clutch stepback 3 to put the game within a point again. With 19.2 seconds on the clock, the Lumberjacks failed to secure a rebound that went out of bounds, last touched by Northland. Northland was forced to foul Balge, who made his free throws and sealed the game for the Knights.

MLC finishes its season with a 5-21 record overall, 3-11 in the UMAC.


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