DETROIT, Mich. -- Sophomore forward Kevin Dunaj (Warren, Mich./Cousino) capped off a brilliant week by posting 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting and 3-for-4 from three point land to help lift the Mustangs to one of the best wins in program history Saturday (Jan. 26).
Dunaj added six rebounds, two blocks and a steal to help propel the 64-57 upset over NAIA No. 17 Madonna University (16-7, 11-4 WHAC). The loss by the Crusaders drops the team out of first place after ending the week 0-2.
Earlier in the week, Dunaj recorded the first double-double of his career after notching an even 11 points and 11 rebounds in a 61-50 victory at Lawrence Tech.
From the tip Saturday the Mustangs played an efficient brand of basketball. The team would convert on their first possession before Crusader sharp-shooter Travis Schuba connected from deep to give Madonna a 3-2 lead with 19:03 remaining in the first half.
The Mustangs would answer the bell and take the lead two possessions later on a Dunaj jumper. Madonna would not gain the lead again for the remaining 38 minutes of action as Dunaj and the Mustangs held off the NAIA power for their third win of the 2012-13 campaign.
Up four at the break, 31-27, the Mustangs would come out of the lockerroom hungry for an upset of their nearby WHAC counterpart. Efficient basketball was once again the catalyst in the second half as the Mustangs maximized their possessions to upset the No. 17 ranked Crusaders, 64-57.
Madonna would tie the game on three occasions, but never gained a lead after holding a narrow 3-2 edge within the first minute of the contest. Bobby Naubert led the Crusaders with 23 points.
After Dunaj's 18, the Mustangs were paced by Diante Taylor (Battle Creek, Mich./Central) and Cameron Coburn (Bay City, Mich./All Saints) who chipped in 15 and 14 points respectively. Taylor would add nine rebounds out of the guard position to go along with an assist, block and steal. Coburn, one of two seniors on the Mustangs squad, knocked down big shots all game while adding six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Justin Armstrong (Detroit, Mich./Academy of Oak Park) and Zamarre Neely (Detroit, Mich./Summit Academy) added seven points each in the conference win. Armstrong was consistent on the glass all afternoon for the Mustangs, while Neely helped ice any Crusader comeback with four key free throws down the stretch.
As a team, the Mustangs had their best assist-to-turnover ratio of the season after dishing out 17 helpers opposed to eight turnovers. The 2:1-plus ratio was key in the upset over the WHAC-leading Crusaders.
Madonna's last win at Marygrove was January 3, 2009.
Saturday's win over Madonna was the Mustangs second win over a nationally-ranked team in program history. The other win came on the road January 9, 2011, at then-NAIA No. 15 Indiana Tech by a 59-56 final. Both Top-25 victories have been guided by head coach Dave Sichterman after the athletic director returned to roam the sideline after a three year exodus.
The Mustangs return to action on the road Tuesday (Jan. 29) when they take on nearby foe University of Michigan-Dearborn. Tip time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.