Marian University men’s basketball (16-8, 11-7 NACC) managed to rally late in overtime to defeat Aurora 76-75 in the opening round of the NACC Tournament.

Neither team led by more than seven points throughout the entire game.  The Sabres opened with a slim 12-11 lead before a media timeout helped propel Aurora to score seven unanswered points and lead 18-12 with 10:55 left until half.  The Spartans built their lead out to 22-15 before 13-2 spurt from the Sabres saw Marian go ahead 28-24.  Marian held this lead the remainder of the half leading 34-30 at the break.

The two squads went back-and-forth to open the second half with Marian still managing a 44-40 advantage.  The Spartans then went on the first significant run of the half using a 12-3 spurt to take a 52-47 lead.  A three-pointer from senior David Britton then sparked eight unanswered points to retake the lead.  The two teams then traded the lead the remainder of the way leading to a 68-68 tie with 35 seconds remaining.  A block from junior Jarrett Henderson allowed Marian a shot at a buzzer beater but a floater from Britton at the horn was off leading to overtime.

The Spartans came out fast scoring the first three points of the extra period but a foul on a three-pointer allowed senior Dylan Gmeiner to quickly tie the game at 71-71 with 3:21 left.  Both defenses were dominant in overtime with Aurora taking a 75-73 lead with 1:26 left.  An offensive foul from Aurora with 20 seconds left once again gave the Sabres a chance in the final seconds.

A dribble drive and dish back outside from Britton saw junior Tyler Gouin have a chance from beyond the arc, but he would make an extra pass into the corner where sophomore Delvin Barnstable nailed a triple to give Marian a 76-75 lead with just 4.3 seconds remaining.  The Spartans would have a chance at the buzzer but their three-point attempt would be offline.

Marian was able to grab 15 offensive rebounds and outscore the Spartans 19-8 in second chance points.  Marian was also able to take advantage of their opportunities at the charity stripe going 22-of-24 (.917) for the game.

Britton shined for the Sabres hitting six three-pointers to score a game-high 26 points with nine rebounds as well.  He would also record three assists and two steals in the victory.  Gouin and Barnstable each chipped in 16 points.

Marian travels to Illinois Tech Tuesday, February 22 for a 7 p.m. tip in the quarterfinal round of the NACC Tournament.