LIVONIA, Mich. - In a game that saw 10 ties, 14 lead changes and almost dead even numbers in most of the key statistical categories, the Madonna University men's basketball team used 30 made free throws and a plus-19 rebound edge to its advantage in a 81-74 upset of No. 12-ranked Cornerstone on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 8) at the Activities Center in a Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference game.
MU (7-4, 4-2 WHAC) got a game-best 23 points from junior All-American guard Bobby Naubert (Livonia, Mich. / Stevenson), 13 of those 23 points coming at the free throw line. Naubert also led all players with 10 rebounds, a career-best for the 5-10 point guard. Junior forward Derek Lennen (Schoolcraft, Mich. / Schoolcraft) joined Naubert in double figures with 11 points off of the bench. Lennen connected on four of his seven shots from the floor in helping MU out score CU (7-3, 4-2 WHAC) 28-18 in the paint.
The victory extended MU's winning streak over Cornerstone to three straight games dating back to last season. The winning streak is the longest for MU in the history of the series.
The Crusaders went 30-for-35 from the charity stripe while the Golden Eagles were 19-for-22. MU also controlled the glass, pulling in 46 rebounds to CU's 27.
Neither side could establish a large lead in the opening half as MU's biggest advantage, five (21-16), came with 10:14 left in the half. CU's largest lead, four (34-40), came with just 2:53 left in the half.
A pair of Lennen free throws pulled MU even, 38-38, and forced the game's sixth tie before junior guard Zach Wedesky (Fowlerville, Mich. / Fowlerville) sank a free throw with six seconds left to give MU a 39-38 lead at intermission.
MU took a four-point lead, 42-38, on a 3-pointer from junior forward Fred Williams (Oak Park, Mich. / Berkley) 33 seconds into the half but CU tied the game for the seventh time less than a minute later at 42-all.
Cornerstone used an 11-4 run to take a five-point lead, 51-46, with 15:15 left. That was the largest lead the Golden Eagles had in the second half as the Crusaders rallied with an 8-3 run to force the eighth tie of the afternoon, 54-all.
The two sides traded buckets with MU going up by five, 59-54, only to see CU come back and tie the game for the ninth and 10th times, the final coming at 62-all with 7:04 left.
The Crusaders took the lead for good on a Naubert layup with 5:27 to go that put the home side on top, 65-64.
A jumper from junior guard Matt Jenkins (Plymouth, Mich. / Fr. Gabriel Richard Catholic) with 1:36 left gave MU a 74-69 led and a Naubert free throw pushed the lead out to six, 75-69.
The Golden Eagles were able to pull within three, 77-74, with 17 seconds left but Naubert and fellow junior guard Travis Schuba (Rapid City, Mich. / Kalkaska) sank all four of their free throws over the final 14 seconds for the 81-74 win.
Wes Hudson led four Golden Eagles in double figures with 19 points. Hudson knocked down a trio of 3-pointers, including a pair from beyond NBA range. Justin Pepper added 13 with Ty Mason and Shane Moreland scoring 12 and 11 points respectively.
The Crusaders return to the court on Wednesday night (Dec. 12), traveling to No. 8-ranked Davenport for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.