NEW ULM?- The term "must-win game" might be a little too dramatic, but the Martin Luther College men's basketball team definitely knew that in order to stay in the race for the conference playoffs, Friday night's game was definitely a big one.
The Knights came out with a variety of different defenses and defeated Northland 68-43 in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference action.
MLC (5-15, 4-5) hosts St. Scholastica in another important UMAC battle at 5 p.m. Saturday. The Saints are a game ahead in the conference standings, so there's no doubt the Knights know that this game is also a very important one.
Todd Brassow led the Knights with 23 points and he also pulled down five rebounds. Galen Holzhueter finished with 14 points and nine rebounds and teammates Luke Rothe and Michael Paulsen each scored 10 points for the Knights, who ended a skid on Friday night.
"I told them that this weekend we could crawl back to .500 or we can continue to tread water somewhere in the middle without identity," MLC coach Jim Unke said.?"I thought our defense really came out and took it to them."
Brassow said the message was sent by Unke before the game.
"We were on a three-game losing streak, so we had to come out and play strong," Brassow said. "We've been doing sort of a new strategy where we come out and switch up our defense so they don't get too comfortable and that's been working well for us."
On Friday, MLC didn't really feel threatened at all. In fact, the Knights led from the very beginning, going up 23-10 on a Holzhueter jumper.
The lead continued to grow as the Lumberjacks were never able to get comfortable in their offense. Northland shot 29 percent from the field in the first half and 35 percent for the game. MLC led 38-20 at halftime.
In the second half, Michael Paulsen's basket put the Knights up 51-33 and the lead slowly grew from there. MLC dominated the boards, outrebounding the Lumberjacks 42-21. The Knights shot 57 percent from the field in the game.
Boebel 1-4 0-0 3; Peterson 4-8 0-1 8; Ringhouse 2-4 0-0 5; Campion 3-10 1-17; Harris 3-8 0-0 7; Cardoza 2-6 1-2 6; Riehle 1-1 0-1 2; Sharp 1-6 0-0 2; Chwala 0-3 1-2 1; McFall 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 18-52 3-7 43.
Holzhueter 7-11 0-0 14; Wilke 0-1 0-4 0; Rothe 5-7 0-0 10; Brassow 10-14 3-5 23; Paulsen 4-8 2-3 10; Edmundson 0-1 0-0 0; Eisenmann 1-5 2-2 5; Lindner 0-1 2-2 2; Uhlhorn 1-1 0-0 2; Peterson 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 29-51 9-16 68.