The Wartburg men’s basketball team beat the Eagles of UW-La Crosse in the narrowest of fashions on Sunday Dec. 10, winning by a score of 72-69.
The Knights dominated in the first half, leading by 22 points going into halftime. In that same half, La Crosse shot only 18 percent from the field. The Eagles stormed back after the break, though, putting up a whopping 52 points on the board in the second half. Head coach Dick Peth said the win was obviously good to obtain, but he felt his players never really had an answer for the Eagles’ stellar second-half play.
“I don’t know that we ever really did adjust,” Peth said.
“It was good to see some of our guys respond and stay somewhat aggressive and get some of their guys in foul trouble and get to the free throw line. But overall, I’m really kind of disappointed in the way we took care of the ball in the second half.”
As Peth said, foul trouble played a key role in La Crosse’s loss. Some of the Eagles’ key players got two or three fouls early into the first half, and starting point guard Taulvish McCray fouled out with about five minutes left in the game. Overall, the Eagles finished with 26 fouls as a team throughout the game. On the other side, Wartburg kept it fairly clean, committing only 12 fouls throughout.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Knights were led by yet another 20-plus point game from Jaran Sabus; his second straight. He finished with 22 points on eight of 11 shooting, as well as hitting six of seven free throws. Peth said that, despite the team’s problems, Sabus was certainly a bright spot in the second half.
“[Sabus] was very aggressive attacking the basket,” Peth said. “A lot of his baskets were going to the rim either on cuts or off the dribble. He just puts a ton of pressure on the defense when he does that.”
Nate Woeste was third on the team in scoring with nine points in the contest, but cemented his name in the 1,000-point club in the process.
The next home game for the Knights will come at the start of the new semester, when they welcome the Central Dutch into town to kick conference play into full swing. That match-up will be on Jan. 3, following the women’s game.