APPLETON, Wis. — The Lawrence University men’s basketball team rode a career-high 21 points from Jamie Nikitas and a gritty performance from Brian Gryszkiewicz to a 73-56 Midwest Conference victory over Beloit College on Wednesday at Alexander Gymnasium.
Nikitas, a freshman guard, went 5-for-9 from the floor, including 4-for-8 from 3-point range, on his way to game-high scoring honors. Gryszkiewicz finished with 11 points, going 4-for-4 from the floor while adding six assists, six rebounds, three steals and diving for seemingly every loose ball.
Ryan DePouw added 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks for the Vikings (10-10, 8-7), and Chris Siebert chipped in with 11 points.
James Lazarcik, who entered the game shooting 70.7 percent from the floor, led Beloit (10-10, 8-7) with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. He hit just 3 of 10 shots from the floor. Steve McAfee paced Beloit with 14 points but was just 3-for-13 from the floor.
The Vikings shot 53.2 percent (25-47) from the field, and limited the Bucs to just 31 percent (18-58) shooting.
The Bucs, who never led in the game, had pulled even at 46-46 when Gryszkiewicz drove to the basket, was fouled and converted a conventional three-point play. After a jumper by McAfee, Gryszkiewicz buried a 3-pointer and Nikitas had a three-point play to push Lawrence’s lead back to 55-48 with 7:08 left.
Lawrence maintained the momentum and led 60-51 after a pair of Lazarcik free throws with 3:47 left. Gryszkiewicz went to the hoop again, scored and was fouled. He converted the three-point play, and the Vikings were up 63-51 with 3:18 left.
After a Lazarcik miss, Nikitas buried a 3-pointer for a 66-51 lead and Beloit never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Lawrence built an early five-point lead and the Vikings led by seven points with 6:45 left in the first half. The Bucs cut the lead to 23-22, but Lawrence scored the final seven points of the first half and led 30-22 at the break.
The Vikings return to action on Saturday when they travel to Cornell College.