LU men pull into a tie for second -jcr -dlh

Andy York

The Lawrence University men’s basketball team needed to have a big weekend after its loss at home to St. Norbert last week. It did just what it needed in defeating Illinois College 72-60, Knox 85-77, and Carroll 80-72. The Vikings are now in a tie for second place with Carroll and Lake Forest in the MWC, one game behind Ripon.
Friday night the Vikings got off to a slow start, and then jumped out on the Blueboys. Illinois College had a 17-13 lead on LU, when they turned on the jets. The Vikings would go on a 24-3 run to end the first half, sparked by eight points by Kyle MacGillis.
The second half stayed mostly stationary, until the last ten minutes or so. With 10 minutes to go, the Vikings had a 19-point lead. The Blueboys would go on a 13-0 run in just under five minutes, cutting the Viking lead to six points. The Vikings would battle back, making critical free throws. They would be held by the Blueboys to one field goal *******– a lay-up by Jason Hollenbeck in the last ten minutes of the game. It was enough, however, to get back on a winning note. Chris Braier led all scorers with 16 points, Holinbeck added 15, MacGillis 12, and Brendan Falls 13 for LU.
Saturday afternoon, the first half was a much more closely contested affair. The Vikings and Prairie Fire put on a shooting clinic, with both teams shooting over 55 percent in the first half, as LU clung to a three-point lead, 42-39 at the half.
The second half would be close as well. A 9-0 run for the Vikings gave them a 15-point lead, which they would raise to 18 with 5:30 left in the game. Knox hit a bunch of three-pointers late in the game to make things more interesting, but the Vikings would hold on for the victory.
LU did have one loss out of the game. Senior point guard Dan Evans suffered a kneecap injury in the game, and was listed as day-to-day. He wouldn’t start, but did play some in LU’s win over Carroll Tuesday. MacGillis led LU with 22 points. Holinbeck added 21 points, with five three-pointers, Falls had 17, and Evans added 13 before his injury.
Tuesday night’s game against Carroll was a must-win for the Vikings. To win would mean they were in a three-way tie for second place, a loss, and they were dropped to a tie for fifth. The Vikings came out shooting on fire. They shot 57 percent overall in the first half, and a whopping 66 percent from behind the arc. Holinbeck continued to be in the zone, as he went 6-7 from behind the arc in the first half shooting over the Pioneers zone defense. The Pioneers answered back, shooting well and keeping the game tight. LU only led 44-40 at the half.
The second half was tight back-and-forth; the teams were tied several times before LU finally pulled away a little bit. The Vikings stretched their lead to 11 with a 7-0 run in the second half, and continued to hang on as Carroll attempted to come back with three pointers. LU hit its free throws down the stretch and got an admirable game from Ben Rosenblatt, the freshman starting in Evans’ place. Evans played well, even though he was nowhere near 100-percent healthy.
Holinbeck led LU once again with 23 points. MacGillis had another big game with 17 points. Braier rounded up the Vikings in double figures with 14.
The Vikings will take their second-place standing on the road this weekend, as they will open up Darby Gym in Grinnell Friday night at 7:30. The Vikings then have a tough second game: they travel to Lake Forest for a 4 p.m. tip-off which could determine who gets second place in the MWC.