Beloit, Wis. – The Vikings of Lawrence University didn’t make it easy for the Men’s Basketball Team Saturday afternoon at Flood Arena, but an impressive first half effort helped the Bucs hold off a late rally from the visiting team in a 95-89 win.
Racing out to a 19-9 lead in the first 7 minutes of the game, the Bucs played a near perfect 1st half, shooting 61% (17-28) from the field and outrebounding the Vikings 22-9.
Sophomore Tristan Shoup (’20 Fort Atkinson, Wis.) played a big role in the dominant half, scoring 22 of his team high 36 points in the first 20 minutes. For the second time this season, Shoup hit his first 10 shots in a game, ending the contest an eye-popping 89% (16-18) from the field to give the Bucs a 23-point lead (50-27) going into the half.
The Bucs continued to roll in the 2nd half, and #30 Mason Jones (’20 Santa Maria, Calif.) hit 2 free throws at the 17:44 mark to make it 56-28, giving Beloit their largest lead of the game.
Lawrence refused to go away despite the 28-point advantage, and a Vikings’ tip-in capped an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 3 (89-86) with 27 seconds left to play. On the ensuing possession, however, Jones sunk 2 clutch free throws to help seal the victory for the Bucs.
Two first-year teammates, #33 Andrew Walters (’21 Denver, Colo.) and #13 Nathaniel Shead (’21 Plano, Ill.), stepped up in a big way for the Bucs, chipping in 10 and 19 points, respectively. Jones, who finished with 15, did the majority of his damage from the free throw line, hitting 13 of his 14 (93%) attempts.
The Bucs (3-18, 2-12) will look to continue their success next Wednesday (February 7th) when they travel to Jacksonville, Illinois to take on the Blue Boys of Illinois College. Tip-off is at 5:30pm.