MILWAUKEE, Wis. – ONU men’s basketball team had a tough task ahead of them in order to win their sixth straight game and come home with a late season upset win. The Tigers traveled north to play conference opponent, the No. 3 team in NAIA Division II, Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.) on Wednesday night, January 30, only to fall behind by 19 at halftime and eventually by a final of 86-68.
In the first 4:08, it didn’t look promising for Olivet (13-11, 11-9) as Cardinal Stritch (23-3, 19-1) took a 12-0 lead. The Wolves eventually stretched it to 23-8 by the 12:31 mark. The Tigers clawed back within 11 points (27-16) with 9:23 to play but could not manage to keep the momentum as Cardinal Stritch scored the next seven points to lead by 18. Over the next five minutes, peaking at 3:49, the Wolves built their largest lead of 27 points (52-25). However, the Tigers fought back to outscore the Wolves 10-2 to end the half.
In the first half, Olivet shot 12-for-29 from the field (41.4 percent), 7-for-13 from the three-point line (53.8 percent) and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line (80 percent). They were outrebounded by the Wolves 17-9, had four offensive rebounds and committed nine turnovers. Cardinal Stritch shot 71 percent from the field, 80 percent from the three-point line and 85.7 percent from the free-throw line. The Wolves committed seven first-half turnovers and had five offensive rebounds.
In order for ONU to get back in the game, they needed an outstanding second half. Cardinal Stritch was unwilling to give that to the Tigers, as their 19-point lead stayed intact until the 16:38 mark. However, the Tigers went on an 8-2 run to get within 13 (14:56), the closest they would get the rest of the game. The Wolves were resilient in their offensive attack, scoring every time the Tigers did, and eventually built their lead back to 19 by the 3:41 mark. ONU was unable to climb back in with the limited amount of time they had left.
Sophomore Tony Banks (Peoria, Ill.) led the Tigers with 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 from the three-point line. He added three rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes.
Freshman Aaron Larson (Tolono, Ill.) finished with 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field, 2-for-2 from the three-point line, and 1-for-2 from free throw line. He also had four rebounds and two blocks in 29 minutes.
Senior Torey Laferney (Flint, Mich.) finished with 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting from the field, 3-for-6 from the three-point line, and 2-for-2 from free throw line. He added one rebound and two assists in 28 minutes.
Darren Moore led the Wolves with 20 points on 9-for-9 shooting from the field and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line. He added nine rebounds and one block in 26 minutes. Derek Semenas finished with 24 points on 7-for-13 shooting and 9-for-10 from the free throw line, and had six rebounds and seven assists in 31 minutes. Tony Smit added 19 points and two rebounds in 30 minutes.
Overall, the Tigers shot 25-for-56 from the field (44.6 percent), 11-for-21 from the three-point line (52.4 percent) and 7-for-8 from the free-throw line (87.5 percent). They were outrebounded by Cardinal Stritch 35-20, committed 16 turnovers and totaled 16 assists, with seven offensive rebounds and six steals.
Cardinal Stritch shot 35-for-59 from the field (59.3 percent), 5-for-12 from beyond the arc (41.7 percent) and 11-for-14 from the free-throw line (78.6 percent). The Wolves had 22 assists, 14 turnovers, 13 offensive rebounds and 10 steals.
Worner has made 186 career three-pointers, good for eighth all-time. Worner is one behind Tony Baker for seventh (187). Also, with six points against Trinity Christian, Worner has 976 career points — only 24 shy of 1,000. If he reaches the 1,000 point milestone, he will become the 38th member of the ONU Men's Basketball 1,000-Point Club.
ONU will be back in action Monday, February 4, on the road against nonconference opponent Robert Morris University (Ill.) at 7 p.m.