RIVER FOREST, Ill. – Marian University men’s basketball (18-8, 11-7 NACC) battled to defeat top-seeded Concordia Chicago 52-49 in a defensive game.
Marian became just the 11th team to win multiple road games in the NACC Tournament with the victory.
The two squads went back-and-forth to a 19-19 tie with 7:01 left in the half before Marian had a strong finish in the half to take the first sizeable lead of the game. The Sabres would use a 12-4 spurt to take a 31-23 advantage into the break.
Marian went 12-of-26 (.462) from the field in the first stanza, but more importantly, the defense held CUC to 10-of-28 (.357) shooting from the field with no made three-pointers on eight attempts.
The Cougars were able to come out strong in the second-half opening with an 8-2 run to cut their deficit down to just two points. This early momentum shift didn’t last long, however, as Marian was able to score eight points unanswered to build a 41-31 advantage with 13:15 left in the game. The Sabres were able to build their lead to as large as 11 points at 44-33 with 10:36 left to play.
From there, CUC chipped away at the Marian lead and was able to trail by just one point on a couple of occasions with the latest coming with a 50-49 score and 2:02 on the clock. The Sabre defense then put the clamps down in the final minutes not allowing the Cougars to score a single point the rest of the way to hold on for a 52-49 victory.
The stifling Sabre defense held the Cougars to 20-of-56 (.357) for the game with just 2-of-20 (.100) shooting from beyond the arc. Marian was also able to take advantage of 14 CUC turnovers which resulted in 15 Marian points.
Senior David Britton led the way for the Sabres scoring a game-high 16 points to go with four rebounds and an assist. Junior Tyler Gouin filled out the stat sheet scoring eight points with four assists and three steals, while sophomore Delvin Barnstable chipped in 12 points with four rebounds and two steals.
Marian will travel to Concordia Wisconsin Sunday, February 27 for the championship game with tip set for 2 p.m.