Vikings turn back Illinois College rally for big road win

Posted on: February 8th, 2014 by Joseph Vanden Acker

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. — Chris Siebert poured in 26 points to lead the Lawrence University men’s basketball team to an 82-79 Midwest Conference victory at Illinois College on Saturday.

Siebert hit 7-of-11 shots from the floor, including 6-of-9 from 3-point range, on his way to his second-highest scoring total of the season. Jamie Nikitas added 20 points, five rebounds, four steals and four assists for Lawrence (9-10, 7-7 MWC).

Zeke Light came off the bench to score 19 points for Illinois College (11-8, 7-7).

The¬†victory gave Lawrence a season sweep of the Blueboys and kept the Vikings’ hopes for a Midwest Conference Tournament berth alive. The Vikings, posting just their second league road win of the season,¬†are now tied for fifth place in the MWC with the top four teams making the conference tournament.

It looked like it was going to be relatively easy for the Vikings, who were playing without head coach Joel DePagter. The flu knocked out DePagter, who had to be hospitalized on Thursday and didn’t make the trip to Illinois College.

Lawrence was hot from the outset and led 13-2 just 2:59 into the game. The Vikings led by as many as 17 points in the first half and settled for a 43-33 lead at the break.

Lawrence built its lead to 70-49 with 8:05 left, but the Blueboys then put on a furious rally. Illinois College went on a 15-3 run to cut the margin to single digits at 73-64 with 2:53 remaining.

Forced to foul, the Blueboys got a helping hand from Lawrence as the Vikings hit just six of their next 12 free throws. That allowed the Blueboys to trim the lead to 79-73.

After Siebert hit 1-of-2 free throws for an 80-73 lead with 20 seconds left, Brandon Barry connected on two free throws for the Blueboys. The Vikings then turned it over, and Spencer Campbell’s layup with 12 seconds left cut the lead to 80-77.

Siebert was fouled again and hit two free throws with eight seconds left for an 82-77 lead, but Campbell got a layup with five seconds remaining to cut the margin to 82-79. Lawrence inbounded the ball and was able to dribble out the final seconds for the win.

Box score

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