CHICAGO – Marian University men’s basketball (17-8, 11-7 NACC) pulled away from Illinois Tech in the second half defeating the Scarlet Hawks 85-71 to earn a spot in the NACC Tournament Semifinals.
Neither team led by more than six points in an opening half that went back-and-forth. The Sabres led 17-12 with 13:23 left in the half after a three-pointer from senior David Britton. This was the largest lead of the half for Marian with IIT responding with a 19-9 run to go ahead 31-26 with 5:41 until the break. The Scarlet Hawks pushed this lead to as large as six at 34-28 only to have Marian go on an 11-5 run to end the half and tie the score at 39-39.
Sophomore Delvin Barnstable did not miss in the opening stanza going 4-of-4 from the field with one three-pointer for nine points. As a team, Marian went 16-of-29 (.552) from the field.
The Sabres immediately took the lead to open the second half and never looked back going on an 18-8 run to take a 57-47 lead with 13 minutes to play. This forced an IIT timeout but the break only propelled Marian to another 8-2 spurt that put the Sabres ahead 65-49. Marian eventually pulled their lead to as large as 21 at 77-56 with 5:22 left. Marian wouldn’t let IIT back into the game with the final eventually settling at 85-71.
Junior Tyler Gouin went off in the second half shooting 6-of-8 (.750) from the field and didn’t miss either of his three-pointers. He also went 7-of-8 (.875) from the charity stripe to score 21 points in the half. He finished with a game-high 29 points.
As a team, the Sabres finished 32-of-54 (.593) from the field and outscored the Scarlet Hawks 42-28 in the paint. Marian also went 8-of-15 (.533) from beyond the arc with the defense holding IIT to 9-of-26 (.346) shooting from three-point land.
Barnstable finished with 16 points, while Britton filled out the stat sheet scoring 18 points with nine defensive rebounds and five assists. Senior Scott Paulus also almost had a double-double scoring nine points with just as many rebounds.
Marian will travel to Concordia Chicago Friday, February 25 for a 7 p.m. tip for the semifinals.