Early deficit too much to overcome for Vikings

Lawrence men's basketball action Mason Materna
Mason Materna scored 12 points in Lawrence's loss at Illinois College.

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. -- The Lawrence University men's basketball team fell into a big early hole Saturday, and Illinois College went on to a 76-60 Midwest Conference win at Sherman Gymnasium.

Illinois College led by double figures 10 minutes into the game and pushed that lead to 27 at halftime. Lawrence chipped away at the advantage in the second half but got no closer than the final margin of 16.

Brad Sendell paced Lawrence (11-14, 8-10 MWC) 18 points, and Bryce Denham added 13 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Mason Materna chipped in with 12 points for the Vikings, and Quinn Fisher and Julian DeGuzman had four assists apiece.

Riley Mehrens came off the bench to lead Illinois College (9-16, 7-11) with 23 points, and he went 7-for-12 from 3-point range.

Illinois College raced out to a 20-9 lead with 9:57 left in the first half, and Lawrence trailed 31-18 after a Materna layup with 5:26 left. The Blueboys went on a 16-2 run to finish the half and led 47-20 at the break.

Lawrence opened the second half strong by scoring the first eight points, capped by Sendell's 3-pointer, to cut the lead to 47-28. The Blueboys pushed the lead back to 27 at 64-37 before the Vikings rallied.

Lawrence went on a 16-6 run as Abhishek Venkatesh scored six points and Denham added five to trim the lead to 70-53 with 4:31 remaining. Lawrence closed with the final three points, all by senior Owen Mitchell, to get within 16 points.

The Illinois College victory snapped Lawrence's 15-game win streak in the rivalry. The Blueboys hadn't defeated Lawrence since February 2011.