By: Sports Information Director, Luke Pattarozzi
ROCKFORD, Ill. (SabreAthletics.com) – Sophomore Cody Veleke scores a career-high 31 points and the Marian University men's basketball team shoots 55.6 percent for the game, but it's not enough as host Rockford College nets a decisive free throw with 2.6 seconds left to get the, 85-84, win on its home floor, today, Dec. 3.
Veleke was nearly perfect from the floor, going 14-for-15 from the field, 2-of-4 from the free throw line and knocking down his only three-point attempt for a game-high 31 points in 33 minutes of action. Junior Jeff Harris scored 19 points and Mike Keller added 12 for Marian. The Regents, who shot 52.4 percent as a team, were led by Tory Minnifield's 27 points on 11-for-19 from the field. He scored scored 20 of those in the second half alone.
Rockford improves to 3-3 overall, 1-1 in the NAC, while the Sabres fall to 2-4 (0-2 NAC).
Trailing 84-80 with 45 seconds left to play, the Sabres and Interim Head Coach Tony Draves called a timeout to set up the ensuing comeback. Out of the break, it looked to have backfired as the Sabres turned the ball over, but Mike Keller returned the favor as he stole it away from Rockford's Darryl Watkins and laid it in to pull MU to within a bucket.
After a foul and missed Regent free throw, the Sabres got the ball back and Veleke tied it up with 15 seconds remaining.
With the clock down to six seconds, Rockford's Danny Fair missed a jumper that caromed right to Minnifield, who was then fouled on a shot attempt by Keller with just 2.6 seconds remaining. Minnifield missed the first free throw before burying the second. Marian got nothing more than a desperation heave that went for naught.
The Sabres did nearly everything they could offensively, shooting 60 percent in the second half, but Rockford went 50 percent from the field in their own right.
MU trailed 47-42 at halftime, getting 16 points from Veleke and nine from Harris. Both teams shot over 51.5 percent from the floor.
The Sabres recorded 22 assists on 35 baskets in the loss. Seven players recorded multiple assists, including Charles Ruffing, who tallied a team-high five off the bench.
The Sabres will host Concordia Wisconsin on Wednesday, Dec. 7, next time out. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. inside Sadoff Gymnasium.
(78-79), (79-80), (80-81), (82-83), (83-84),
(87-88), (89-90), (90-91), (98-99), (99-00),
NCAA Tournaments (2)