NEW ULM - Up by 10 points at halftime, the Martin Luther College men's basketball team was trying to play the role of spoiler in Friday's Upper Midwest Athletic Conference game against Crown College.
Instead, the Knights watched James Brown hit seven 3-pointers in the second half and Crown hit 12 as a team to force overtime. From there, Crown outlasted MLC 92-88 to move to 11-13 overall and 8-5 in the UMAC, clinching a playoff berth in the process.
The loss drops MLC to 5-19 overall and 4-9 in conference game with Saturday night's contest against University Minnesota-Morris as the last game of the season.
Brown finished the game with 29 points, including 7-of-12 from 3 point range. Bryce Williams, who came into the game leading the UMAC in scoring with 20 ppg, finished with 22.
Galen Holzhueter led the Knights with 24 points and 18 rebounds and Todd Brassow scored 20. Luke Rothe finished with 16 points and 10 assists.
"We were in that zone and our wings had a hand in their face and I guess you got to give them credit for hitting big shots down the stretch," Rothe said.
Crown hit 4-of-18 from beyond the arc in the first half as MLC cruised, taking a double-digit lead for most of the half.
But the momentum started to slip away when Williams hit two 3-pointers late in the half, including one at the buzzer, as MLC's lead slipped to 10 points.
The Storm came out hitting from outside in the second half, cutting the lead to 42-41 on a basket by Brown with 16:45 left in the second half.
MLC withstood the comeback and later went up 59-51 on a traditional three-point play by Rothe, but Brown and Williams worked from deep again and trimmed MLC's lead to 69-67 with 6:09 left.
The game was close the rest of the way and Crown took an 80-78 lead late.
Brassow hit the game-tying lay-up with 8.9 seconds left but the Knights were unable to take over in overtime.
Berglund 3-6 1-1 7; Shetler 4-10 4-6 14; Brown 10-18 2-2 29; Williams 8-15 0-2 22; Owczarek 2-8 7-9 12; Messner 2-10 0-0 6; Bigej 0-1 0-0 0; Whitcomb 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 29-70 16-24 92.
Holzhueter 8-17 8-9 24; Wilke 0-4 0-0 0; Rothe 6-14 4-8 16; Brassow 10-17 0-0 20; Paulsen 4-7 1-2 11; Edmundson 0-2 0-0 0; Eisenmann 3-6 3-4 9; Lindner 3-4 2-2 8; Koelpin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 34-71 18-25 88.