Lakeland Nets Win Over CUC Behind Ward's Double-Double
Courtesy of Lakeland College
RIVER FOREST, Ill. -- Sophomore Justin Ward scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Lakeland College men's basketball team to a 68-62 win over Concordia University Chicago in the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament quarterfinals Tuesday night.
The win gives Lakeland a 20-6 overall record, its first 20-win season since the 2005-06 season when the Muskies went 21-6. Lakeland advances to the NAC Tournament semifinals on Thursday against No. 1 seed Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon, Wis.
Ward used back-to-back baskets to give the Muskies a 66-62 advantage with 1:45 to play after a tight second half. Junior Jake Schwarz (Sheboygan, Wis.) iced the game when he hit a pair of free throws to seal the win.
The Muskies and the Cougars went back-and-forth the entire first half with neither team taking more than a six-point lead. Concordia Chicago used a 12-6 run in the opening minutes to take an early 18-12 lead. Lakeland got into early foul trouble as senior Josh Regal (Suring) and Schwarz sat the majority of the half.
Freshman Joey Burris (Kiel) gave Lakeland a two-point lead when he hit a pair of free throws with 3:07 left in the half. The 6-foot-3 guard also hit a free throw just before halftime to give the Muskies a 35-34 advantage at the break.
Lakeland opened the second half on a 5-0 run behind a 3-point play by Ward. The Cougars didn't go away and used a 14-6 run to take a 48-46 lead just six minutes into the half. The score changed and was tied nine times before Lakeland eventually came out with the win.
The win also marks the Muskies first NAC Tournament win since the 2007-08 season when they won the tournament.
Ward ended the night with a double-double including 10 rebounds to go with his 24 points. Regal finished with 11 points and four assists.
Defensively, Concordia Chicago held Lakeland to 20 points below its average and held Schwarz, the nation's sixth leading scorer, to seven points.
The Muskies return to action on Thursday as they travel to Mequon, Wis., to take on Concordia Wisconsin in a 7 p.m. tip. Thursday's winner advances to the NAC Tournament final.