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The Lakeland College men's basketball team torched the nets to the tune of 57.4% shooting, pulling far away from Marian University in a 95-67 win Saturday afternoon in a Northern Athletics Conference Tournament quarterfinal game at Woltzen Gymnasium.
The top-seeded Muskies (21-5 overall) advanced to the tournament semifinals, to take place Tuesday night. Lakeland will now host fourth-seeded Concordia University Wisconsin, which rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to defeat No. 5 seed Milwaukee School of Engineering 66-56 on Saturday.
The Muskies made 31 of 54 shots from the field in their best shooting performance of the season. Lakeland also drained 10-of-15 from three-point range, as well as 23-of-29 from the free throw line (79.3%), and committed just nine turnovers.
Lakeland kept the heat on from the start, shooting 54.8% in the first half (17-of-31) and 60.8% (14-of-23) in the final 20 minutes. The Muskies led by as many as 16 points in the first half and took a 46-34 lead into halftime, then blew the game open in the final ten minutes.
Eighth-seeded Marian (15-11 overall) was unable to play Lakeland as closely as it did in two regular season meetings, when both games went down to the final three minutes before the Muskies prevailed. The Sabres shot 42.3% from the field (22-of-52), and the top three-point shooting team in the NAC made just four of 20 shots from three-point range.
Marian still was as close as seven points on three occasions midway through the second half, the last time when Jake Coenen made two free throws to make it 61-54 with 10:29 left in the game. The Muskies would go on a 29-9 run, though, blowing the game open and cruising to the win.
Jake Schwarz (Sr.-Sheboygan, Wis.) finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds, making 8-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-5 three-point tries, as well as 7-of-8 from the free throw stripe.
James Oshkeshequoam (Jr.-Shawano, Wis.) added 17 points despite playing just 17 minutes due to foul trouble, and Joey Burris (So.-Kiel, Wis.) added 14 points, five rebounds and six assists and made three three-pointers. Justin Ward (Jr.-Wisconsin Dells, Wis.) scored 13 points and Rylee Hernandez (Sr.-St. Paul, Minn.) added a career-high 11 points, including a big spark off the bench with nine points in the first half.
Cody Veleke and Sam Koslowski scored 18 points apiece to lead Marian, but no other players reached double figures. The Sabres also committed 17 turnovers.
Other NAC Tournament scores included No. 2 seed Aurora (Ill.) University rolling past seventh seed Benedictine (Ill.) University 87-67 and third-seeded Dominican (Ill.) University edging No. 6 Rockford (Ill.) College 64-62. Aurora will host Dominican in the other semifinal game Tuesday night.