Vikings men’s basketball defeated the Lake Forest College’s Foresters with a score of 72-69 at the Alexander Gymnasium on Wednesday night, securing them their sixth Midwest Conference victory of the season.
Men’s basketball had a tumultuous week or so leading up to the game, coming to the match on a three-game losing streak. This included a frustrating defeat just four days prior where Ripon bested the Vikings’ lead and pulled out a victory in the last minute of the game. Lawrence players were determined to not let that happen again, and jumped on the offensive to score the first points of the game. Both teams were tied 19-19 by the time the opening quarter was done. They remained neck-in-neck, and ended the first half with Lawrence leading 37-35. Lawrence built their lead up to 57-49 with twelve minutes left in the game because of some well-placed shots, including a three-pointer by rising Vikings star, first-year Arnav Jain. The Foresters slowly closed the gap, with a driving layup by Lake College player Alex Knight tying up the score 69-69 with just 1:19 left in the game. In the last thirty seconds of the game, the Vikings got three defensive stops. The victory was sealed with a jump shot from first-year Nick Hesch and a free throw by junior Matthew Kaznikov, bringing the score to 72-69.
The game saw many standout players, such as Jain, who scored a career-high 23 points in the 25 minutes he was on the court. Kaznikov finished the game with fifteen points and three rebounds for the Vikings. Senior Elliot Jung continued his scoring streak with 13 points, f5 assists, and 3 rebounds for Lawrence after scoring a career-high 22 points at the previous game.
The Vikings brought this momentum into their Sunday game against the Cornell College Rams to be met with some controversial fouls and a contentious overtime run. The Vikings had the lead from the start, with a score of 12-2 after less than five minutes of play. They only further solidified this lead, a three-pointer by Kaznikov bringing the score to 23-9 with 11:36 remaining in the first half. By the end of the first half, however, the Rams had whittled down Lawrence’s lead to 39-38. The two teams were neck-in-neck but the Vikings held on to their meager lead until a pair of free throws put the Rams ahead 61-60. Successful shots by junior Adnan Sarancic and Kaznikov put Lawrence back in the lead at 67-64 with just 2:23 left in the game. With just eight seconds left, a Cornell player buried a three-pointer, forcing the game into overtime. Cornell took the lead in the dwindling seconds of overtime, making two free throws after a Lawrence foul; the score was 77-76 with just 2.2 seconds remaining. The ball was inbounded to first-year Johnny Semany, who collided with a Cornell player, and attempted a desperate three-pointer as the buzzer sounded. Although there was clear contact, no foul was called and the Rams took the victory.
Men’s basketball’s final game will be against Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois this Saturday, Feb. 18 at 3pm.