MEQUON, Wis. – Concordia University Wisconsin had a chance to at least tie the game and possibly win on Wednesday night, but a loose ball ended any chance of a come-from-behind victory against Wisconsin Lutheran College. The Falcons nearly overcame a 21-point deficit in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference game and the loss snapped a six-game winning streak.
CUW didn't shoot well in the first half and WLC was lights out, which resulted in what most inside the R. John Buuck Field House thought was an insurmountable deficit to overcome, 21 points. However, the Falcons caught fire in the second half and did just enough defensively to put themselves in position for a victory.
After a missed Warrior free throw, CUW had 14 seconds to get a shot off, but suffocating interior defense stopped the first attempt and a fumbled pass couldn't be gathered as the final horn sounded. The Falcons coaching staff was attempting to call timeout, but the officials determined neither team had possession.
CUW finished the game 45.8 percent from the floor and continued its hot shooting at the free throw line (87.5 percent, 21-of-24), but WLC pulled down an impressive 20 offensive rebounds and shot 48.6 percent for the game. Neither team shot well from outside and both teams combined for 84 points in the paint.
Sophomore Eric Kittel (Brillion, Wis.) paced the Falcons with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including three 3pointers, while junior Bradley Prinsen (Oostburg, Wis.) had 14 points. Junior Malcolm Bowers (Germantown, Wis.) tallied 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and junior Brett Boettcher (New Holstein, Wis.) ended with eight points and 10 rebounds. Senior Dustin Thumann (Marshfield, Wis.) scored nine points off the bench.
Kyle Stelse led the Warriors with 21 points, while Nate Siemers had 18 and Jake Jarnigo scored 15 points. DJ Escamilla added 10 points. Stelse, Siemers and Jim Marose combined for 14 offensive rebounds.
The early going featured two scoring ties and five lead changes, before the Warriors went on a commanding 28-8 scoring run to take a game-high 21-point lead with two minutes and 59 seconds to play before halftime. CUW would get closer, but trailed 42-30 at the intermission.
The Falcons found their shooting touch in the final 20 minutes of play and cut the deficit to eight points with 12:14 to play, before the Warriors increased it back to 15 points with 7:21 to play. CUW responded with a 10-0 scoring run to get within five points, 71-66, and make the game interesting.
Following a Prinsen layup, the Falcons were down just a point, 76-75, with 1:25 to play. A jumper and a dunk increased WLC's lead back to five points with 34 seconds remaining. CUW answered with a Kittel 3-pointer, however, a pair of free throws put the Warriors in front by four, 82-78, with 24 seconds left.
After junior Keith Kahlfeldt (New Berlin, Wis.) missed on a 3-point attempt, Kittel found himself wide open underneath for an easy tip-in to put the score at 82-80. WLC (9-9, 5-8 NACC) missed a free throw on a one-and-one attempt to give the Falcons one last chance that failed.
CUW (10-7, 9-5 NACC) returns to action on Saturday at Concordia University Chicago with tip-off scheduled for 4:15 p.m.