Lawrence men slip up on Illinois trip

Andy York

The Lawrence University men’s basketball team traveled to Illinois to play a pair of games last week. On Friday night they faced Illinois College, with a rematch against Knox on Saturday afternoon. The Vikings got off to a decent start against Illinois. They did not play their best game, but did not look terrible against the Blueboys. Lawrence shot 44 percent from the field, and were paced by Jason Hollinbeck. Illinois College played well and went into halftime with a five-point lead at 40-35.

In the second half, it was all Illinois College. They came out shooting and were successful on 45 percent of their shots, compared with Lawrence’s 32 percent.

The Blueboys controlled the tempo of the half and banged around inside. The Vikings could not handle the height of 6-foot 10-inch junior center Garrett Ingram, as he finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Hollinbeck had 23 for Lawrence, but it was not nearly enough. The Blueboys coasted to the finish and an 83-60 victory.

On Saturday Lawrence met Knox, who were at Alexander Gym only the week before. This time the game was not nearly as heated, and was not to be in Lawrence’s favor this time either. Knox jumped in front early on the strength of their three-point shooting. Knox ended the half shooting 60 percent from behind the arc.

Lawrence could not match the Prairie Fire’s range. They struggled to a dismal nine percent mark from the three-point arc, and faced a six-point deficit at the half, 34-28.

In the second half, the Vikings tried to mount a comeback, but time and time again were denied by Knox. Knox continued shooting well, led by Midwest Conference Player of the Week, junior guard Victor Garcia, who ended up with 32 points.

The Vikings tried to stop Garcia, but it was no use. Knox made their free throws down the stretch and came away with a 64-58 victory on their home court.

Senior forward Ryan Gebler led the Vikings with 21 points and seven rebounds, and freshman guard Hollinbeck put in another solid performance with 14 points. The Vikings return home this weekend to host Grinnell tonight and then Monmouth tomorrow afternoon at Alexander Gym.