Finlandia men come up short again

Paul Peterson photo Terrence Fuller of Finlandia puts up a shot in Saturday's game versus Bethany Lurheran. The Lions were 78-75 losers.

HANCOCK — If anything else, the final 21 seconds of Saturday’s Bethany Lutheran-Finlandia University men’s basketball game was a microcosm of the Lions season.

Finlandia put up three 3-point attempts attempting to tie up the contest. None dropped, however, and FU was a 78-75 loser.

“That’s the way the season has gone for us,” Lions’ coach Mike O’Donnell noted ruefully. “We battle hard, stay close but still come up short. It’s been frustrating.”

The defeat dropped Finlandia to 5-17 on the season. Bethany Lutheran improved to 15-8.

“Taking nothing away from Bethany, that’s a good team,” O’Donnell said. “But this was a game we had a good shot at winning.”

After trailing almost the entire game, the scrappy Lions edged to within 73-72 with 1:15 left to play.

But the Vikings Neil Eichten nailed a trey of his own a few seconds later for a 76-72 lead. Eichten added two free throws shortly afterward for a 78-72 reading.

Finlandia’s Marcus Geralds’ 3-pointer made for a 78-75 reading and led to the final hectic ending.

Bethany Lutheran took an early lead and held it most of the opening half.

A FU rally, led by Robinson and Terrence Fuller, tied it at 37-all, but the Minnesota team grabbed a 41-37 halftime lead.

The two old rivals battled on even terms in the second half — the overall play of Geralds sparking the locals.

Geralds posted game-high totals of 29 points and 14 rebounds, drawing the praise of his coach.

“Marcus played a real inspired game,” O“Donnell said. “He made some big plays and kept us in the game.”

Robinson, who recently surpassed the 1,000-point mark at FU, added 17 points and five assists. Fuller pitched in 16 points and 10 rebounds.

The Vikings had five players in double figures, led by Eichten’s 18 markers. Brady Rose was next with 16 points, while Brandyn Frewlix had 12 more.

Finlandia travels to Gogebic CC on Wednesday.

BETHANY LUTHERAN — Rose 16, Frelix 12, Bauer 11, Eichten 18, Merchant 11, Kubesh 4, Lindstrom 3, Becker 1. FG: 30-58; FT: 9-16; Rebounds: 37 (Frelix, Merchant 7; Fouls: 19; Foulewd out: None. 3-point FG: Rose 3, Eichten 2, Bauer 1, Frelix 1. Becker 1.

FINLANDIA — Geralds 29, Cercone 2, Smart 6, Robinson 17, Fuller 16, Carlson 5. FG: 25-75; FT: 21-22; Rebounds: 45 (Geralds 14); Fouls: 14; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Smart 2, Geralds 1. Robinson 1.

Halftime score: Bethany 41, Finlandia 37.