Men’s basketball defeats Lincoln for 10th conference win


[metaslider id=128570]Photos by Carly Fristoe

Phil Brahm | Staff Reporter
February 5, 2015; 9:30 a.m. 

Earning the 10th conference win of the season, the men’s basketball team defeated Lincoln University 83-71, Wednesday night at the Hyland Arena.

Beginning the game with an 8-0 run, LU took the lead and held it for the remainder of the contest. Leading by as many as 19 points in the first half, the Lions dominated both ends of the floor with ease.

The comfortable lead quickly began to fade in the second half, as the Tigers clawed their way back, capitalizing off of several miscues by the Lions. While Lincoln was only able to cut the deficit to eight points, the fans were delivered a scare as LU held on to the win.

Despite the numbers heading into the game against Lincoln, Lions’ head coach Brad Soderberg was not at all surprised with the Tigers resilience as they continued to claw away at the deficit.

“There’s an interesting dynamic in sports where a team that as won as few games as Lincoln has they kind of just throw it in the wind and say what the heck lets let it fly,” Soderberg said. “It’s not like they are going to win the conference championship by beating us and sometimes that makes it really hard for the expected team to win.”

The Lions ended the night shooting a season-high 68 percent from the floor and shot over 50 percent from behind the arc for the 10th time this season.

Scoring a season-high 20 points, Sam Mader led the offensive attack of the Lions. Along with Mader, three other LU starters broke double digits in the point column as well. Cory Arentsen and Chance Creekmur both scored 14 points and Darris Smith tallied 13 points.

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With his players continuing to produce big numbers, Soderberg sees the results as a sign that his team has found a solid offensive balance.

“I think if you have teams that have one guy that does the majority of the scoring, they are easy to stop, because you can put all your eggs in one basket,” Soderberg said. “It’s hard to do that against us because we’ve got a lot of guys who can generate some offense.”

On the opposite end of the floor, the Lions efforts were among the best of the season. The team brought it 24 defensive rebounds, six blocks and six steals.

With just six games left in the season, the Lions have faced each of their upcoming opponents already this season. Soderberg and his players plan to use what they’ve seen to their advantage as close out the final stretch of the regular season.

“Now everybody has seen us once and we’ve seen them once,” Soderberg said. “The fact of the matter is it becomes more of a players game now because the coaches aren’t going to be able to trick each other and the players are just going to have to outcompete each other.”

Looking to clinch a top seed in the MIAA tournament, the Lions travel to Missouri Western on Feb. 7. The last time the two teams met at the Hyland Arena on Jan. 31, LU earned a 66-57 win over the Griffons. MWSU currently sit in the middle of the conference standings with a record of 5-8[event_blocks 128584]