WAUSAU, Wis. — The UWGB-Marinette men’s basketball team overcame foul trouble and a rough shooting night to beat UW-Stevens Point-Wausau 59-56 in a nail-biter on Wednesday.

“Even though our offensive production wasn’t there tonight, the boys played really solid defense, especially in the second half,” Bucs coach Bryan Wickstrom said. 

Marinette (3-2) was without starting point guard Connor Heise due to a concussion. That, coupled with the early and consistent foul trouble, made things difficult offensively for the Bucs.

“The foul trouble came early and it stuck around all game,” Wickstrom said. “We went nine-deep (off the bench) and the bench players coming off the bench did a really nice job stepping in and filling those roles. Offensively, we were just out of sync all night and I think it had to do with the amount of subbing we did due to the fouls.”

Marinette got five first-half points from Victor Lee and four from Jack Farley (STAA) off the bench to keep the Bucs in the game and go into halftime tied at 26.

Levi Kempka (Menominee) scored nine of his game-high 14 points in the second half and Connor Nelson also had nine second-half points to help Marinette hold off Wausau and come away with a victory.

“The guys showed tremendous character down the stretch. (Wausau) started to fight back a little more in the second half and the guys didn’t get flustered, we kept it cool and finished off strong,” Wickstrom said. “The big thing is we came out of a five-game road trip to open up the season 3-2 and won three straight. Jake (Voss) did a great job starting for Connor tonight, hopefully we have (Connor) back for Saturday’s game against Sheboygan.”

Marinette has its home-opener on Saturday against UWGB-Sheboygan at 2:45 p.m.

UWGB-Marinette (59) — Willemsen 9, Hornick 3, Lee 5, Nelson 12, Farley 6, Kempka 14, Lauscher 8, Janofski 2. FTs: 16-23

UWSP-Wausau (56) — Tabor 9, Lehman 7, St. Germaine 11, Gibbs 12, RisingSun-Doud 1, Timm 3, Bagby 3, Nunez 10. FTs: 9-21

Hlaftime score: UWGB-Marinette 26, UWSP-Wausau 56