WATERTOWN, Wis. --- After a tightly-contested clash from start to finish, the Sabercats pulled away down the stretch to win 73-57 over the Moody Bible Institute Archers. Zach Terpstra led MBU with 17 points, and was one of four players with double-digit points on the night. With the win, MBU improves to 8-15 on the year.
Terpstra led the Sabercats right out of the gate by spearheading the offense. The senior showed his leadership by posting six points in the opening few possessions, marking an up-tempo start for MBU.
Once the game's rhythm was established, the Archers managed to stay ahead in the low-scoring first half by utilizing the three-point game. Moody scored 12 of their first 24 points from beyond the arc to stay ahead of MBU for the majority of the first half.
Shepard kept the Sabercats close in the late stages of the first half, as the junior pulled the Sabercats to within three points with a routine three-pointer inside the final four minutes.
Two free throws from Wagner brought the Sabercats back to within one point, and then dueling short-range jumpers from Shepard and Medina put the Sabercats in front for the first time since the opening minutes.
MBU put a full-court press into action for the final two minutes, and it paid off when Clayton Morrison converted a three-pointer to put MBU ahead by six points - a lead they would carry into the intermission.
Shepard and Terpstra led the Sabercats at halftime with seven points each. (35-29)
The second half was back-and-forth from the start. Moody did manage to edge MBU and tie the game in the early stages of the second half, but strong play in the paint from Medina and Bryce Cashner restored the MBU lead to four points with 12 minutes on the clock.
The Sabercats kept the full-court press alive for the better part of the second half, and it proved to pay off when they gradually increased their lead to nine points for the final two and a half minutes.
Inside the final two minutes, the Sabercats essentially sealed the deal when Terpstra hauled in an offensive board and layed it in to put MBU up by 10. When Shepard added three points from the line over the next 15 seconds, MBU was poised on a 15-point lead with 87 seconds on the clock.
The Sabercats closed it out in style. Morrison knocked down two shots from the line, and Medina added four quick points to remove all doubt. The Californian brought the crowd to their feet with a two-handed slam on a fast break and followed that up with a layup to seal the win for MBU. (73-57)
"I am really proud of our guys - we are getting things figured out and playing our best basketball at the best time of year to be playing it. We have been able to exploit the weaknesses in our opponents' defense and work hard without caring about who gets the credit. Our senior captains really stepped up big tonight - Zach Terpstra did a phenomenal job guarding Trey [Frank - MBI], and Wes [Wagner] and Clayton [Morrison] also really did their jobs well. We are excited about where we are going and where we are headed as we look forward to Regionals."
The Sabercats will conclude their regular-season home games with a 5:00 p.m. Parents' Night event Saturday against the Lincoln Christian University Red Lions.
You can catch the game live at mbusabercats.com/live or via Facebook Live (/MBUSabercats)