MEQUON, Wis. – Marian University men’s basketball (19-8, 11-7 NACC) earned their second NACC Tournament title after defeating CUW 77-71.
The opening minutes went back-and-forth between the fifth-seeded Sabres and second-seeded Falcons with CUW taking an early 19-15 lead. The Sabres then dominated the final 7:19 of the opening half using a 22-6 run to take a 37-25 lead into the break.
Concordia Wisconsin rallied in the opening minutes of the second half cutting their deficit down to seven with 14:52 left to play. A Marian timeout provided a pivotal break in the action as the Sabres scored a quick seven points unanswered. Senior David Britton capped the spurt with a fastbreak three-pointer to draw a Falcon timeout.
The Falcons responded out of their timeout cutting the Marian lead down to two at 52-50 with just 8:24 left on the clock. A media timeout helped once again shift momentum as out of the break Marian went on an 11-4 spurt capped by a three-pointer from senior Dylan Gmeiner to take a 63-54 advantage with 4:25 left. The Falcons wouldn’t go away quietly, however, cutting the Marian edge down to two once again with 3:06 in regulation.
The Sabres were able to once again show poise and withstand the run scoring six unanswered points to build some much needed breathing room. With one final push, CUW managed to cut their deficit down to three with 57 seconds remaining, but Britton would ice the game hitting four free throws in the final 16 seconds to set the final at 77-71.
Marian had an unusually tough performance from beyond the arc but finished the game shooting 31-of-57 (.544) and outscored the Falcons 38-32 in the paint.
Britton hit just one three-pointer but finished with a game-high 28 points to go with four assists. Junior Tyler Gouin could not miss going 12-of-14 (.857) from the field to finish with 24 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
The Sabres become just the second team in NACC Tournament history to win three road games and claim the tournament crown joining the 2008 Lakeland Muskies.
Marian will await where they travel to for the NCAA Tournament. The national tournament appearance will be the third appearance for the Marian men’s basketball program.