FOND DU LAC, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – A career-high 32 points by senior guard Sam Koslowski led the way as the Marian University men's basketball team regained sole possession of first place in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference following an 82-74 victory over Benedictine University inside Sadoff Gymnasium, this afternoon, Jan. 4.
The Neenah native connected on eight three-pointers and went 10-for-13 from the field to finish with a career-high 32 points, 20 of those coming in the first half. The Sabres shot over 56 percent from the field for the second straight game, going 28-of-50 from the floor and converting a season-high 10 three's on 17 attempts to outlast the Eagles. With Aurora's loss at Lakeland, the Sabres find themselves alone in first place once again.
Marian never trailed in the contest, jumping out to its largest lead of the game with a 51-36 halftime advantage after shooting 63.3 percent (19-for-30) from the field, including 8-for-12 from three-point range. The Eagles cut the deficit to one point, 68-67, with 6:06 remaining in the game, but an 11-2 Marian run – equipped with two Koslowski three-pointers – followed and quickly built the lead back to double digits.
"It was good to get the win after coming off Christmas break," Head Coach Mark Boyle said. "We were a little rough around the edges, but we did a really nice job of sharing the ball, especially in the first half."
Marian improved to 8-4 overall, 7-1 in the NACC with the win, while Benedictine dropped to 4-8 (2-5 NACC) after its fourth single-digit loss in league play.
Over less than a four-minute span, Sam Koslowski went on a three-point barrage, extending a 9-4 Marian lead into a 26-11 advantage after hitting five consecutive three's. The Sabres finished the half on an 11-4 run to take a 51-36 lead into the break. Marian registered 15 assists on 19 made baskets in the opening stanza and finished the game with 21 assists on 28 field goals.
Despite shooting over 59 percent (13-for-22) from the floor, the Eagles still found themselves down by double digits.
Benedictine put together another stellar shooting performance in the second half, going 14-for-27 (51.9 percent), but only 1-for-8 from long distance.
"Benedictine didn't give up when they were down and found soft spots in our defense," Boyle said.
The Eagles used a 19-5 run to pull within a point at 66-65 with 6:46 remaining thanks to the solid play of Tim McGinty, who turned in a team-high 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Michael Woolf and John Dodson also reached double figures with 16 and 10 points, respectively.
Back-to-back buckets by Mike Keller extended the Sabre lead to three points on back-to-back possessions as the Eagles continued to keep it a one possession game. However, a pair of free throws followed by a three-pointer from Koslowski gave Marian some breathing room and lead grew again quickly.
Alex Stecker returned to the Marian starting lineup and provided immediate dividends, scoring nine points by going 4-for-4 from the field, while adding three assists in 25 minutes. Drew Binversie chipped in nine points as well to go along with a team-high six assists.
The Sabres will have the week to rest before returning home to host Rockford University next Saturday, Jan. 11.
(78-79), (79-80), (80-81), (82-83), (83-84),
(87-88), (89-90), (90-91), (98-99), (99-00),
NCAA Tournaments (2)