Finlandia Men getting closer, but lose to St. Scholastica

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HANCOCK, Mi. Five players were in double-figures in scoring as the Finlandia University men’s basketball team (0-9) lost 92-85 in overtime to St. Scholastica (1-5), Tuesday afternoon at the Paavo Nurmi Center.

“We had great support at the Paavo tonight,” said head coach Sam Casey. “We heard the ROAR and we’re thankful for everyone who’s been supporting us at home, on the road and online. Tough loss but as John Wooden said ‘sports doesn’t build character, it reveals it.’ We’re a high character team on the verge of breaking through.”

Finlandia led for almost the entire first half although it was a battle. St. Scholastica pulled to 36-33 with 2:02 left. Freshman Riley Hendrickson dropped in two from his hometown to push the Lions to 42-33 at the 1:26 mark.

FinnU shot 51.4% from the floor and 46.2% from behind the arc. Finlandia kept the lid on the Saint bucket allowing them to shoot 36.1% from the floor and 17.6% on 3-pointers.

The second half followed a familiar script, the Lions up by at least six and CSS creeping back in. Junior Dylan Underwood spun and scored in the paint. That made it 66-57, FinnU with 7:50 to go.

St. Scholastica came back to tie it at 70 at the 4:49 mark. The last five minutes was back-and-forth. Down 77-75, freshman Stef Marzette hit a tough jumper in the paint to send the game into OT.

Marzette hit a pair of free throws to make it 83-80, Finlandia with 3:41 to go. The Saints scored nine straight to seal the deal.

For Finlandia, Underwood had 19 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and seven steals while Marzette finished with 19 points. Sophomore Joe Heinonen had 16 points, nine rebounds and blocked five shots, freshman Kaleb Kirksey scored 14 points with nine rebounds and three blocks and Hendrickson had 13 points and five assists.

For St. Scholastica, Nick Carlson had 37 points and eight rebounds while Jarod Wilken had 22 points and 19 rebounds.

Finlandia is off until Wednesday, Dec. 11 when they cross the Lift to take on Michigan Tech. The game is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m.