BELOIT, Wis. – Marian University men’s basketball (3-7, 2-3 NACC) trailed by as much as 10 but rallied to defeat Beloit 70-68 to close out the first half of the season.
The Sabre offense was clicking in the win with the second highest field goal percentage in a game so far this season shooting 27-55 (.491) from the field. They also had their most efficient game of the season beyond the arc where they shot 8-20 (.400) and at the charity stripe 8-10 (.800).
After trailing 63-61 with 4:10 remaining in regulation, Marian closed out the game with a 9-5 run to earn the non-conference victory. Junior Tyrese Pinson hit a three-pointer and converted a layup, while senior Alex Manhardt and junior Kelvin Jones each made a pair of free throws to complete the strong finish.
Pinson and Jones went on to lead the Sabres in scoring with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
The two teams started the game with a 20-20 stalemate with 7:54 left in action before Beloit took the first sizeable lead with a 17-7 run. Freshman Tavaris McCullough would hit a pair of free throws in the final seconds to cut into the deficit and provide the Sabres momentum going into the second half.
That momentum proved to be big as Marian opened the second half scoring the first nine points and taking a 39-37 lead. Four different Sabres scored during the run, which was capped off by a layup from Jones.
The Sabres built their lead to as large as 49-43 with 13:51 left to play but an 11-0 run from the Buccaneers with 10:28 remaining quickly turned the momentum. Layups in the next three possessions from Manhardt, McCullough and Jones, respectively, helped Marian regain the lead and from there, neither side held a lead larger than three the remainder of the game.
The Sabres won the turnover battle forcing 16 Beloit turnovers that translated into 23 points. Marian held the Buccanneers to only four points off of turnovers.
Manhardt, McCullough and junior Evan Hansen each chipped in 10 points in the win to round out the five Sabres who scored double-digits. Manhardt also added five assists, while Jones led MU with six rebounds.
Marian returns to action Saturday, Dec. 30 at home when the Sabres host Concordia Chicago at 2 p.m. to open a NACC doubleheader.