MILWAUKEE – The MSOE men's basketball team led by as many as 18 points but could not hold off a surging Benedictine team in falling 83-75 Saturday afternoon at the Kern Center.
The Raiders (13-8, 12-5 NACC) came up on the short-end of a showdown for first place in the NACC standings as the Eagles (14-7, 13-3 NACC) used a 17-0 run around halftime to overcome the early deficit.
Sophomore Matthew Kirmse scored a team-high 24 points, including 17 in the first half, and junior Jason Palesse added 12 points with six assists. Freshman Bailey McDaniel contributed nine points off the bench.
Brayden Olson paced Benedictine with 34 points, powering the rally on 13-of-25 shooting and handing out eight assists. Jens Soderholm had 14 points and 13 rebounds off the bench and Eric Grygo scored 12 points.
MSOE had never trailed in the first 21-plus minutes of the game but was tied early on at 10-10 before rattling off a 12-0 run. The home team would push its lead as high as 18 points at 35-17 with 6:41 remaining in the first half.
The score was 48-32 when the Eagles battled back, scoring the final 11 points of the first half and the first six of the second to take their first lead of the game at 49-48. There would be five lead changes and seven ties before the visitors pulled away. The score was last tied at 60-60 and the Raiders were still within a possession at 69-67 with 8:23 remaining before BenU pulled away. The team went on a 10-1 run to put the game out of reach.
It was a game of two halves for the Raiders' offense, which shot 61.3 percent from the field in the first have. They then hit just 30.3 percent from the field after halftime to settle at 45.3 percent for the game. They made just 6-of-21 three-point attempts and went 11-for-15 at the free throw line. Benedictine shot 51.6 percent after the intermission to finish at 48.4 percent. It was 7-of-19 from distance and 14-for-18 at the charity stripe.
MSOE looks to bounce back Wednesday when it returns to the court Wednesday at Concordia Chicago.