EagleHerald/Brian Bell
Levi Kempka of UWGB-Marinette prepares to go up against Sheboygan’s Quentin Beaudoin during Saturday’s game in Marinette.
EagleHerald/Brian Bell

Levi Kempka of UWGB-Marinette prepares to go up against Sheboygan’s Quentin Beaudoin during Saturday’s game in Marinette.

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MARINETTE — The UWGB-Marinette men’s basketball team earmed its fourth win in a row on Saturday with a 77-66 decision over UWGB-Sheboygan on Saturday.

The Bucs offense looked out of sync for a second consecutive game, but the defense stepped up when it needed to and Marinette ended the game on a 17-7 run to move to 3-1 in the conference.

“It reminded me a lot of last Wednesday’s game,” Marinette coach Bryan Wickstrom said. “Offense was out of sync but defensively we played really well. Preston (Lauscher) had a big mismatch underneath with their 6-foot-7 guy but he held his own really well. We went a little deeper again because we had some foul trouble but all-in-all our defense played extremely well.

“Offensively we have to get in more of a rhythm. Our output just isn’t there yet. We scored 77 points but a lot of that was miscues on Sheboygan and we just have to get stronger offensively if we want to make a solid run at this.”

Marinette struggled to find its shots early on but took a 12-8 lead on a 3-pointer from the wing by Levi Kempka followed by a Connor Nelson steal and fast break layup. Jakob Voss then found a streaking Kempka for a full-court pass and Kempka finished the layup to go up 14-8 with 12:30 remaining.

The Wombats tied things up quickly with a pull-up three from Brian Seymour and a 3-point play inside from the 6-7 Dylan Martens. Voss reclaimed the lead for the Bucs with a corner three, but Sheboygan took it back on another pull-up three from Seymour and a 3-pointer from the wing by Caleb Broaddus to get out to a 22-17 advantage.

“Our pregame we really focused a lot on their big guy. We wanted to collapse and help from the perimeter, but be able to recover on the shooter and we only did half of that,” Wickstrom said. “We only did half and (Seymour) hit a couple big shots.”

Lauscher was fouled on a shot under the hoop and after missing the three-point play opportunity, Cam Willemsen skied for a tip-in to tie the game at 22 with eight minutes to play in the half. Marinette went on a run to get the lead after with a turnaround jumper from Lauscher followed by a three-point play from Jack Farley forcing Sheboygan into a timeout with 6:20 left.

Sheboygan came back to grab a 36-35 lead with under a minute to play in the first but an up-and-under layup from Jordan Janofski gave the Bucs a 37-36 lead heading into halftime.

The teams traded baskets and stayed within striking distance of each other the whole second half. Sheboygan scored the first five points out of the break to go up 41-37, but Kempka nailed a jumper, Willemsen cleaned up a missed free throw and Connor Heise sank a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 45-41 lead.

Marinette later extended its lead to 72-64 on a 3-pointer from Lauscher and the defense clamped down in the last five minutes to come away with a win.

Kempka led the way for the Bucs with 18 points; Heise had 14 and five assists; Farley scored nine and Lauscher had eight points and eight rebounds.

Marinette (4-2, 3-1) hosts UWGB-Fox Valley on Wednesday.