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The Lakeland College men's basketball team improved to 13-9 overall with a 90-75 non-conference victory over Milwaukee School of Engineering on Saturday, Feb. 10, in Lakeland's Moose and Dona Woltzen Gymnasium.
Although the game remained close throughout most of the first half, the Muskies used a 9-0 run to push the score to 41-27 with four minutes remaining in the half. The home squad also shot a blistering 70 percent from the field and 66 percent from behind the arc in the first half to gain a 49-35 advantage by halftime.
"We gave up quite a few points in the beginning of the first half, but then we started settling down and stopping them a little better," said junior guard Aaron Regal, who scored a team-high 18 points on four of six shooting from behind the arc and dished out seven assists. "It's a really big confidence boost because we're finally starting to string some wins together and we're starting to build confidence. We're hoping to make some noise in the conference tournament if we can keep winning."
The Muskies' starting forwards junior Danny Ehnert and sophomore Matt Rogers followed Regal in scoring with 16 points apiece, with Ehnert hitting a nearly-perfect seven of eight of his shot attempts from the field, recording three steals and grabbing a game-high eight rebounds to help the squad out-rebound the Raiders, 36-29.
Senior forward Tyrone Coleman and freshman guard Phil Sontag also had solid games off the bench, each nailing all four of their field goal attempts to finish with 13 and nine points respectively. Junior guard Kris Saiberlich also contributed with nine points and five rebounds.
"I think this is as good as we've played on both ends of the floor," said head coach Kyle Brumett. "They had 75 points, but I thought our defense was pretty solid in both halves. Danny did his job of rebounding and Aaron was excellent tonight scoring, not turning the ball over and making plays for other guys. Tyrone gave us a huge lift off the bench and Matt was consistent again for us.
"Every night we're going to have somebody different. Tonight it was Tyrone and Phil off the bench and Pete (Worth) and Dave (Hoerres) also gave us good minutes, but on Tuesday it could be somebody else. You just never know who it's going to be."
The Muskies finished the game shooting 59 percent from the floor, boosted by a 57 percent average from 3-point range, and shot 75 percent from the free throw line.
"Our guys are still trying to get better, which is the most exciting thing as a coach," Brumett said. "We're so deep into the season and some of our guys have had some injuries or are banged up a little bit but they're still coming to work every day to improve. For us, that's a huge thing because we've given a few games away, so we're trying to get to that third spot in conference."
Lakeland will return to Northern Athletics Conference play on Tuesday, Feb. 13, with a big match-up with Wisconsin Lutheran, whom the Muskies defeated, 80-63, in the team's first meeting last month.
"Every game is different, but we need this win on Tuesday," Brumett said. "They are a good team with veteran players and probably have the best seniors in the conference, but it's going to be a big game for us. Obviously being on a five game winning-streak makes you feel good because you're confident going in, but we're going to have to go into the game continuing to do the things we do well, which are out-rebounding people, not turning the ball over and making our free throws."
Game time is set for 7 p.m. in Milwaukee, Wis.