HANCOCK, Mich. – Marian University men’s basketball (1-5, 1-1 NACC) led 27-20 at halftime but an early push to open the second half gave Finlandia a 65-57 win.
The Sabres took the first sizeable lead for the game when they scored seven straight points in the middle of the first half that gave MU a 16-6 lead. A layup from freshman Tavaris McCullough capped off the run as he went on to score a team-high 15 points.
McCullough would have a stretch where scored eight straight Marian points as the Sabres would build their lead out to as large as 13 with 6:43 left in the first half.
After senior Alex Manhardt opened the second half with a dunk, Finlandia would score the next 10 points and take a 30-29 lead. A free throw from freshman Justin Wilson would tie the game back at 30-30 but the Lions would once again score 10 straight points to push their run to 20-1 and take a 40-30 lead.
Junior Kelvin Jones would make a layup with 10:49 left in the game to cut the Sabre deficit down to four but the Lions would rebound and hold the lead the remainder of the game. Jones would go on to finish with 10 points off the bench.
The Lions finished shooting 21-50 (.420) from the field, while holding the Sabre offense to only 20-69 (.290) from the field and only two made three-pointers. The Marian defense won the turnover battle forcing 21 turnovers that led to 20 points. The Sabre bench also had a big game outscoring the Lion bench 34-9.
Manhardt continued to dominate down low with a team-high 11 rebounds to go with eight points.
Marian returns to conference action when they host Concordia Wisconsin Wednesday, Dec. 6 for a 7 p.m. tip.