The Lawrence University men’s basketball team cruised to an easy pair of wins this weekend over Lake Forest College and Illinois College. The two wins, couples by a pair of Grinnell losses means the Vikings can clinch the MWC title, and home court in the MWC Tournament with a win over Carroll tomorrow. The Vikings are now ranked eleventh nationally in the newest D3Hoops.com poll.The Vikings started off hot against Lake Forest Friday night, and got even hotter in the second half. The Vikings shot 54 percent from the field in the first half, and 55 percent from three-point range. Lake Forest also shot well in the second half, and the Vikings only led 42-30 at halftime. But the Vikings put their pressure defense on in the second half. The Foresters were shut down, and the Vikings continued to roll offensively. The Vikings started the second half with a 22-8 run, and easily cruised to their fourth consecutive victory over the Foresters 81-50. Brendan Falls who had 17 led the Vikings. Chris Braier had 15, and Jason Hollenbeck 13 for LU as well.
Saturday Afternoon, the Vikings were excited to beat up on Illinois College after hearing about rival Grinnell’s loss to St. Norbert the night before. The Vikings took all that excitement and turned it into energy as they played relentless defense on the Blueboys and easily rolled to a victory.
The Vikings only shot fifty percent from the field in the first half, but they couldn’t miss a three pointer. The Vikings scored 18 of their first 20 points on treys. The defensive onslaught came later in the second half, and the Vikings were way ahead at the half 45-21. The second half was no different as LU got the end of its bench into the game for a good chunk of the second half. The Vikings didn’t let Illinois College get anywhere near a comeback, and Lu went on to win 89-59. The Vikings were led by Braier with 20, and Falls had 12 and Hollenbeck 10 to spread the scoring out for LU.
The Vikings will have a chance to clinch their first MWC title since 1996-97 with a victory over second-place Carroll on Saturday. The Vikings defeated Carroll 63-62 earlier in the season. With a win, LU would host the MWC Tournament in Alexander Gym from February 27-28. The winner of that tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Vikings game against the Pioneers will be at 4:00 in Alexander Gym tomorrow. The Game will also be heard on 91.1 WLFM and will be webcast.