MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Lutheran College men's basketball team stormed back from a 22-point second half deficit to take the lead, but fell just short of a victory in a 76-72 defeat to Rockford Saturday at the Recreation Complex.
After leading 42-26 at halftime, the Regents (7-2, 4-2 NACC) opened the second half on a 10-4 run to take a commanding 52-30 lead with 17:37 remaining in the game. The Warriors (3-5, 1-4 NACC) chipped away at the deficit, led by 11 second-half points from Jake Jarnigo (Lake Mills, Wis./Lakeside Lutheran). Kyle Stelse (Jefferson, Wis./Lakeside Lutheran) hit a pair of free throws with 1:58 to go to cap a 39-16 run and give the Warriors a 69-68 lead.
Rockford quickly regained the lead before Brett Lubbe's (Las Vegas, Nev./Faith Lutheran) layup again gave WLC a one-point lead with 1:34 to go. The Regents went ahead for good on a layup by Phil Andrade with 48 seconds remaining and made four free throws in the final 30 seconds to hang on for the victory.
Jim Marose (Waukesha, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) led five Warriors in double figures with 15 points. Jarnigo (14 points), Stelse (12), Lubbe (12 and 14 rebounds), and Taylor Chladek (West Allis, Wis./Nathan Hale) (10) joined Marose in double figures.
David Dixon scored a game-high 18 and added 13 rebounds for the Regents. Scott Suchy chipped in 13 points and Ron Farmer-Blanchard pulled down 12 rebounds.
Rockford shot 46 percent in the opening half and controlled the boards 27-13 on its way to a 16-point halftime lead. Dixon had 10 points and six rebounds in the first half while Marose led the Warriors with eight first-half points.
WLC was out-shot 42-39 percent overall and was just 2-for-14 (14 percent) from three-point range. The Warriors were out-rebounded 54-41 and Rockford held a 20-13 edge in second chance points.
Wisconsin Lutheran will begin winter break and go two straight weeks without a game before returning to action Tuesday, December 31 at Concordia Chicago (2-6, 0-5 NACC) at 2 p.m.