Muskies End Season with Loss to Aurora
Athletics - posted on 2/23/2007
The Lakeland College men's basketball team saw its season come to a close with a 86-72 loss to 15th-ranked Aurora University in the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament semifinals on Friday night in Aurora, Ill.
"This is a great group of kids," said Lakeland head coach Kyle Brumett. "They really bought into my coaching style and what I was trying to get them to do. No coach is going to get his team to do everything he asks them to because they aren't perfect, but I felt they were really trying to do what I asked them to do. We just ran into the one of the best teams in the country.
The Muskies (16-11) led the NAC champions and tournament's No. 1 seed 24-13 midway through the first half, and pushed the margin to as many as 16 points in the opening 20 minutes. Lakeland shot 55 percent in the first half, 58 percent from 3-point range and out-rebounded the Spartans, 21-13. Lakeland led 43-33 at the half.
But Aurora (24-2) opened the second half with a 21-0 scoring run and Lakeland went scoreless for seven and a half minutes. Lakeland never regained the lead. The Muskies shot 36 percent in the second half compared to 53 percent for the Spartans, who also controlled the rebound in the second half.
"The first half is good as we've played all year," said Brumett. "We've had struggles of losing games that we've held the lead at the half. That is obviously our Achilles heel, and in the off season we as coaches are going to look at film and see what we can do to change that.
"They obviously didn't play really well in the first half and we did. In the second half they played really well. When they play as well as they did and we don't play well, they are probably 14 points better than us."
Sophomore Matt Rogers lead the Muskies with 18 points. Junior Kris Saiberlich added 17 points, 14 in the first half. Saiberlich needs 11 points next season for 1,000 points in his Lakeland career. Junior Danny Ehnert had seven boards.
"My players deserve a lot of credit on a successful year," said Brumett. "At one point we were 8-9. Teams can do one of two things - they can go south and lose their focus or they can rally together and commit as individuals. That is what we did. Our guys came to 83 practices. A lot of people don't realize how much of a commitment that is and how much time that is. I felt like all the way up until this week they came to practice trying to get better and we did."
The Spartans will host second-seeded Edgewood in the NAC Tournament Championship on Saturday at 7 p.m.
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