MONMOUTH, Illinois – Junior Matthew Kirmse buried five 3-pointers on the way to a game-high 24 points and led the MSOE men's basketball team to a 75-68 victory over Monmouth Sunday afternoon at Glennie Gym.
The Raiders (4-0) overcame a six-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Fighting Scots (2-3) 43-30 in the second half.
Kirmse added six rebound and was one of three players with four steals in the game. Junior Travis Ballard added 14 points and junior Jake Gebert finished with 10 points and four steals. Senior Jason Palesse notched nine points, five assists, and four steals while driving the offense.
Will Carius led the defending Midwest Conference champions with a double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds. Justin Batterton scored 13 points and D.J. Swift chipped in 10.
Monmouth closed out a tight first half with a 6-1 run to take a 38-32 lead into the intermission. MSOE then responded by scoring the first seven points of the second half to get things started. While the Raiders would never put the game out of reach, they did take the lead for good at 43-42 on a Gebert layup at the 15:57 mark.
The Red & White would build its lead as high as eight points but the Scots would not yield. The hosts pulled within one at 69-68 with 1:23 remaining. After hitting 1-of-2 at the free throw line, MSOE forced Monmouth into a one-and-done possessions. Ballard then hit a decisive three-pointer to make it 73-68 with 29 seconds to play. On the next possession, a Palesse steal led to a Kirmse layup to ice the game for the Raiders.
MSOE shot just 41.2 percent for the game but went 8-for-20 from three-point range. The team also got to the free throw line 35 times against MC's 16, making 25. The Scots shot 41.7 percent from the field but just 7-of-26 from beyond the arc.
The Raiders return to the court Tuesday when they open their league slate at Rockford.