MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Lutheran College men's basketball team returned to action from its 19-day layoff and fell to Concordia Chicago 75-59 in a Northern Athletics Conference game at the Recreation Complex Thursday night.
The first five minutes of action saw the two squads play to an 11-11 tie as Russell Strutz (Sturtevant, Wis./Shoreland Lutheran) and Alex Merbach (Kaukauna, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran) each had four early points for WLC.
The Cougars (3-10, 3-3 NAC) responded with a 16-6 run to take a 27-17 lead with 9:05 remaining in the half. Wisconsin Lutheran cut that deficit to 35-32 with just over three minutes to play, but CUC closed out the half with the final four points to take a 39-32 advantage into halftime.
Tim Demuth (Franksville, Wis./Racine Lutheran) led the Warriors in the opening half with nine points as he went 3-for-6 from behind the arc. Concordia Chicago's Charles Gordon led all scorers with 12 first-half points. Field goal percentage was a big difference in the opening 20 minutes as WLC shot just 38.2 percent (13-for-34), compared to the Cougars' 60 percent (15-for-25).
Wisconsin Lutheran came out strong after halftime as it narrowed its deficit to 45-41 with 14:54 to play in the game. Julion Griffin (Milwaukee, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) scored four early second-half points to help the Warriors trim their margin.
Concordia Chicago had an answer, however, as it took a 13-point lead, 57-44, with 10:19 to play. The Warriors cut that back down to seven points with 6:55 on the clock, but the visiting Cougars would not allow the game to get any closer as they went on to the 16-point victory.
Merbach and Demuth each scored 12 points to lead Wisconsin Lutheran. Griffin led the Warriors with nine rebounds and also chipped in with nine points in his first game of the season.
Gordon led all scorers with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting as the Cougars shot 49.1 percent (27-for-55) from the floor for the game. WLC shot 38.3 percent (23-for-60) and 27.3 percent (6-for-22) from three-point range.
Wisconsin Lutheran (2-10, 1-3 NAC) will return to action this Saturday when it travels to Lisle, Ill. to face NAC South Division foe Benedictine (3-8, 2-2 NAC). Tip-off between the Warriors and Eagles is set for 4:15 p.m. at the Dan and Ada Rice Center.