The Red Hawks (2-1) came out red hot, shooting over 63 percent in the first half and taking a 16-point lead into the locker room before cooling down in the second half. The Sabres (0-2) played the exact opposite, coming out in the second half more aggressive and cutting the deficit to as little as 2 points with opportunities to tie or take the lead down that stretch.
Sophomore forward Josh Creed poured in a team-high 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting for Marian, while Ripon sophomore Ty Sabin led all scorers with 23 on 6-of-13 shooting and a 10-for-12 effort at the charity stripe.
Marian trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half following a Kyle Loughrin free throw with just over 5 minutes remaining before halftime. A 6-0 run by the invigorated the crowd and provided some energy heading into halftime despite the poor effort from the field that led to just a 36 (9-for-25) percent effort. On top of that, the Red Hawks converted nine Marian turnovers into 13 points.
The Sabres would put the dismal performance in the rearview and claw back into the game, cutting the deficit to single digits less than 6 minutes in.
Trailing 46-29, Marian put together a 12-3 run with five different players contributing and capped with a Brandon McCullum free throw to make it 49-41 with 12:54 left.
Shortly thereafter, tempers flared on a Ripon foul call and led to a technical on the bench. Junior guard Alex Stecker turned it into a solo 5-point run as he knocked down both technical free throws and drained a triple from the wing to cut the deficit to seven at 53-46.
With 4:51 remaining, junior Drew Binversie would cut the Ripon lead to three with a layup in transition for two of his 8 points. The Valders native would add 6 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and a steal in a solid all-around effort.
Daniels trimmed the deficit to 61-59 with 20 seconds left and the Sabres were forced to foul to extend the game. Sabin knocked down both free throws, but Daniels came away with another big basket to make it 63-61 with 7 seconds remaining.
Another foul put Sabin, who had been 10-for-10 to that point, at the line for two more. He surprisingly missed both, but the ball was knocked around and was ruled last touched by the Sabres, leaving too little time for a last-second effort for the win.
Marian finished the second half with a 50 percent effort from the floor and held the Red Hawks to just 27.3 percent at the other end.
The Sabres outscored their counterparts, 42-26, in the paint and converted 18 points off 11 turnovers – 14 of those in the second half.
Marian will play host to Northland International Saturday, Nov. 22, in one more non-conference match-up before the conference opener. Start time is set for 5 p.m. following the Marian women at 2 p.m. Marian Athletics is holding a canned food drive to support the Fondy Food Pantry and asks that all who attend consider making a generous donation. Guests that donate 5 canned food items will receive free popcorn Saturday.