BELOIT, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – The Marian University men's basketball team led at halftime, but couldn't overcome a second-half surge by host Beloit College as it dropped the season opener, 66-63, inside Flood Arena, this afternoon, Nov. 15.
The Sabres (0-1) took a 31-25 lead into the break, but the Buccaneers (1-0) regrouped, using an 18-1 run and never looked back. An Alex Stecker 3-pointer try, that would have tied the game, bounced off the rim as time expired.
Freshman Isiah Daniels finished with a game-high 17 points off the bench in his collegiate debut. The Campbellsport product went 7-of-14 from the field, including 3-of-4 from the charity stripe, while adding 7 rebounds. Sophomore Josh Creed added 11, while junior Drew Binversie chipped in 9 points.
Marian shot nearly 46.7 percent (21-for-45), but committed 17 turnovers, in which, Beloit was able to turn into 17 points. A solid afternoon at the free throw line kept the Sabres in the game as they went 19-for-23 (82.6 percent).
A slow Marian start saw Beloit jump out to a 6-0 advantage out of the gate, but four straight points by Daniels followed by a Mike Keller bucket evened the score. Both teams would trade baskets for a significant stretch until the Sabres pulled away with a 10-0 run to make it 24-16 with 4:57 remaining in the first half.
Newcomer Alex Manhardt knocked down a pair of free throws to push the lead to 9 points at 27-18 with 2:17 left in the first half. Creed then capped the half with a jumper to send the Sabres into the locker room with a 31-25 lead.
In the second half, Marian increased its lead back to nine at 37-28 before the Buccaneers made their move.
Sean Fancsali started the run with a layup and back-to-back 3's followed to make it 39-37 Bucs with 14:49 remaining, marking Beloit's first lead since midway through the first half. The onslaught would continue until Michael Gulve capped the 18-1 run with a layup at the 11:40 mark.
Manhardt's layup at 10:12 to make it 47-42 snapped a stretch of nearly 8 minutes without a field goal for the Sabres. Marian would continue to battle, though.
Trailing 62-58 with under a minute remaining, Daniels made a layup to make it a one-possession game. Beloit's Gulve then knocked down a 3 that seemingly put the game on ice with 15 seconds left, but Stecker drew a foul on a 3-point attempt and made all 3 free throws to cut it to 2 point.
Rudy Bentley made 1-of-2 free throws to make it a 3-point game and that left the Sabres with one final opportunity with 8 seconds remaining.
Stecker dribbled down the floor and found an open look, but his 3-pointer from the wing went off the front of the rim as time expired.
The Buccaneers shot 47.2 percent (25-for-53), including 7-for-17 from 3-point range. They were led by Gulve's 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, followed by 11 points each by Fancsali and Steve McAfee.
The Sabres will look to bounce back against another Midwest Conference foe in Ripon College Wednesday, Nov. 19. It will mark Marian's home opener inside Sadoff Gymnasium. Start time is slated for 7 p.m.
(78-79), (79-80), (80-81), (82-83), (83-84),
(87-88), (89-90), (90-91), (98-99), (99-00),
NCAA Tournaments (2)