Knights pick up first win

NEW ULM – The Martin Luther College men’s basketball team plays a tough nonconference schedule, and on Thursday, the Knights put an end to their 10-game losing streak with an 81-65 nonconference victory over Maranatha College (1-9).

Galen Holzhueter led the Knights with 26 points and 13 rebounds. The Crusaders, like the Knights, don’t have a lot of height inside and the Knights took advantage of that. MLC outrebounded the Crusaders 41-34.

“We’ve played some competition up until this game and Maranatha’s more of a team that’s our caliber and more that we’ll see at the UMAC [Upper Midwest Athletic Conference],” Holzhueter said.?”We knew that we had a good chance coming into tonight’s game and there really wasn’t much special preparation, it was just us against them. It’s obviously a huge boost for us going into the conference season.”

The Knights played the game without starting point guard Luke Rothe. But those who filled in [Todd Brassow, Ben Edmundsen, Michael Paulsen, Josh Lidner] for him did their job and didn’t turn the ball over. MLC had 10 turnovers compared to 15 for the Crusaders.

“Not only is it a boost of confidence for them, but also for the rest of the team knowing that we’re deeper as the year goes along. People were coming in and making plays, so we’re going to need that as we go along.”

Coach Jim Unke agreed that the guard play was a key factor in the game for MLC.

“I think it was really important, and what you don’t see is that we had all those guys with [balanced scoring],” Unke said.?”Before Christmas, it was Luke and Galen, and today everybody stepped up and we hit a couple of 3s against their zone, which pulled them out of it immediately.”

The Knights and Crusaders were close throughout the first half. But MLC took a 35-33 lead into the locker room, then built on that lead early in the second half.

Holzhueter and Brassow scored the first 11 points for the Knights in the second half as MLC built a 46-41 lead.

Later, a pair of Holzhueter free throws stretched the lead to 51-44, but the Crusaders crept back in and made it 53-51 on a basket by Jackson Miller.

However, the Knights began to slowly pull away, going up by nine on free throws by Holzhueter. An Edmundsen 3-pointer gave the Knights a 70-57 lead and they never led by less than 10 the rest of the way.

Brassow finished with 16 points and Austin Eisenmann scored nine off the bench.

Brett Cashner led the Crusaders with 19 points.

MLC hosts Bethany Lutheran College at 3 p.m. on Saturday in its first UMAC game of the season. For Holzhueter, it’ll be special because the Vikings are coached by his brother and MLC graduate Greg Holzhueter. Greg and Galen’s dad Paul Holzhueter is also an assistant coach for the Knights this year.

“It’s on my mind, obviously, but there’s really nothing different as far as what I’m going to do. But it’s going to be a little extra fun and it’ll make me want to win just a little bit more against him.

“We have two Holzhueters on our side with me and my dad, so hopefully the advantage of two against one will help.”

Maranatha 65

Terpstra 1-5 3-4 5; Cashner 6-10 6-7 19; T. Moses 3-8 2-2 9; Wenthold 2-4 0-1 6; Morrison 0-2 3-4 3; McKinney 0-2 2-2 2; Hedlund 0-1 0-2 0; B. Moses 2-9 10-12; 14; Miller 34 1-2 7. Totals 17-48 27-36 65.

MLC 81

Holzhueter 8-17 10-15 26; Wilke 2-5 2-4 7; Koelpin 2-2 2-2 6; Brassow 7-13 2-5 16; Paulsen 2-7 3-4 7; Edmundson 3-6 0-0 7; Eisenmann 4-8 0-0 9; Lindner 1-2 0-0 3. Totals: 29-60 19-30 81.

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