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The Muskies improved to 7-1 in Lake Michigan Conference play with a 69-59 victory over Marian on Tuesday evening at the Moose and Dona Woltzen Gymnasium on the Lakeland campus.
"Every game is important from here on out," said head coach Gary Grzesk. "We don't want to drop any ground in the conference race. In order to achieve our goals we have to take care of business at home. I think the guys were looking forward to playing a conference game. They came out with a lot of effort on the defensive end and it carried over to offense as we moved the ball, took some good shots and knocked the ball down."
The Muskies opened the game with a 15-2 run in the first four minutes. They used the fast start to build a 33-23 lead at the half. In the second half Lakeland built their lead to 20, 61-41, with just under 6:30 to go in the game. Marian would not back down as they battled back to cut the Muskie lead to 63-54 with a 13-2 run over the next four minutes. Lakeland would hit some kick free throws down the stretch to seal the 69-59 victory.
Senior Germayne James led Lakeland offensively with 16 points, while fellow classman Nick Howard pulled down 10 boards defensively. Sophomore Kris Saiberlich went 3-5 from behind the arc, scoring 13 points, while Howard went 2-3 from three-point land and scored eight on the night.
"We had some good dribble penetration," said Grzesk. "The shots they (Saiberlich and Howard) took where all good looks. When we shoot a good percentage it is because we take good shots and guys make the extra pass. The guys played unselfish and that is how they got some open looks."
The Muskies shot 40 percent for the game, while allowing Marian to shoot 37 percent.
Tonight's game was taped by TV8 Sheboygan and will be rebroadcast tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 p.m.
With the Lakeland win and an 89-82 Edgewood victory over MSOE the Muskies moved into a tie with MSOE for first place in the LMC. The Muskies will host Wisconsin Lutheran at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, January 21.