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MILWAUKEE - Justin Ward (Jr.-Wisconsin Dells, Wis.) dominated inside and the Lakeland College men's basketball team got a big road win, defeating Milwaukee School of Engineering 59-54 in an important Northern Athletics Conference North Division game Tuesday night.
The Muskies survived a game filled with missed shots by both teams, taking the lead early on and never giving it back. Lakeland avenged a loss to the Raiders earlier this month and put some distance between the two teams in the North Division standings, improving to 10-3 in conference play (17-5 overall) while MSOE dropped to 7-5 in league and 13-8 overall.
The two teams played another ugly game similar to their first meeting, combining for almost as many turnovers (31) as made field goals between the two (34). The Raiders shot just 27.5% (17-of-61), while the Muskies were not much better at 31.5% (17-of-54).
Lakeland was more up to the task this time, though, winning the rebounding battle 49-44. Ward also was assertive on offense and defense, scoring a game-high 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds while also blocking five shots.
The Muskies led by 12 points midway through the first half and held a 29-21 lead at halftime. Lakeland led the entire second half as well, though MSOE challenged late. The Raiders got within one point at 40-39 on a layup by Jeremiah Erdmann with 12:18 to play, and were still within three after two free throws made it 52-49 with 2:04 left.
Lakeland answered the next time down with a big basket from Kurt Jansen (So.-Wrightstown, Wis.), who had eight points off the bench. The Muskies got a stop on MSOE's next possession, and Jake Schwarz (Sr.-Sheboygan, Wis.) made two free throws for a 56-49 lead with 1:09 left for some breathing room.
Schwarz finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, and James Oshkeshequoam (Jr.-Keshena, Wis.) added 10 points. Brandon Hagenow (Fr.-Sussex, Wis.) grabbed 10 rebounds from his guard position and also added four steals.
Austin Stueck led MSOE with 12 points. The Raiders shot just 9-of-36 (25.0%) in the second half and made 3-of-15 three-point tries for the game.
The Muskies return home Saturday for another big game, hosting NAC South Division leader Aurora (Ill.) University at 4:15 p.m. at Woltzen Gymnasium.