Issues with ball control in the first 20 minutes kept Lake Zurich from taking control of its North Suburban Lake boys basketball opener with visiting Mundelein on Wednesday night.
Then came an eight-minute turnaround where the Bears went from nearly being in a tie game to cruising to an 83-51 victory.
"They were a huge problem tonight -- the first half especially," said Lake Zurich senior Brad Kruse of 11 turnovers before intermission and 15 in the first 2Ĺ quarters. "But we really persevered through adversity and got going in the second half."
They Bears (4-2, 1-0) committed only 2 turnovers as they scored the first 20 points of a 36-4 tear that lasted eight minutes and put them ahead 81-46 with 3:07 to play. Junior Mike Travlos (20 points, 6 rebounds), Kruse (19 points, 8 rebounds) and Jack O'Neill (13 points) fueled 59.6 percent shooting from the field (31-for-52).
But senior guard Matt Moon made a big impact after Mundelein (1-5, 0-1) got within 45-42 with 3:30 left in the third quarter and missed a tying 3-point attempt. Moon, who just returned from the football team's Class 7A state runner-up finish, made an immediate impact a few seconds after he entered the game for the first time.
Moon's driving 3-point play on Kruse's transition feed started the Bears' outburst. He also had 5 assists and didn't allow Mundelein guard Derek Parola, who shared team-high scoring honors with sophomore Pierre Bailey at 11 points, to score again.
"We talked before the season about how he's our X factor," Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher said of Moon.
"We were playing a little more under control and Matt Moon gave us a huge spark," Kruse said. "Now that he's back it will really help us out on both sides of the floor and he helped us out on defense."
Corey Helgeson and Kruse also did their part on that end to limit senior guard Nate Williams to just 6 of his 24.8-point average on 1-for-17 shooting from the field. Mundelein shot 26.5 percent from the field (18-for-68) and was 6-for-25 from 3-point range.
"We have to learn to fight through adversity," said Mundelein coach Corey Knigge. "We have a tendency when things get bad to go from bad to worse to worst and that's what happened tonight.
"I was happy in the first half and I thought we battled and did some good things, but in the second half when they made the run at us we just felt sorry for ourselves. We got down instead of picking each other up and digging back."
And Lake Zurich got nearly all of its shots at or near the rim in the second half as it connected for 73.9 percent (17-for-23).
"Almost all of our points in the run were off transition and it was layup after layup after layup," Kruse said. "By pushing the ball we got easier shots and that was big."