SPOKANE, Washington (SabreAthletics.com) – Alex Stecker led five players in double figures for the Marian University men's basketball team, but it wasn't enough to upset perennial NCAA Tournament participant Whitworth University as the Pirates led from start-to-finish to come away with a 78-64 win, this evening, Dec. 21.
Buckets were hard to come by for the Sabres (6-4) in the first half, shooting just 28 percent (7-for-25) from the field on the way to a 12-point halftime deficit. The Pirates (6-2) are coming off their eighth straight trip to the NCAA tournament and used a 60 percent second half shooting effort to hold off a Sabre squad that was able to cut the deficit to as little as 7 points on a Drew Binversie layup with 1:04 remaining.
Binversie finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in a solid all-around effort. Stecker scored 13 points on 3-of-4 from downtown and 4-for-4 at the free throw line to lead the Blue and White. Josh Creed and Montrell Hobbs added 12 points apiece, while Mark Keller chipped in 10 off the bench in the loss.
With 9:22 left in the second half, Taylor Farnsworth gave Whitworth its largest lead of the game of 16 points at 56-40. Farnsworth tied with two other teammates for game-high honors with 14 points, leading five players in double figures.
Just 2 minutes later, Carvell Oliver completed an 8-0 run for the Sabres to get them right back into the game. The Pirates were quick to respond, however, as a 7-0 run then pushed the deficit back to double digits.
Wouldn't be until a minute left that Binversie was able to get the deficit down to 7 points at 70-63 and then the Pirates sealed the win with free throws down the stretch.
Marian shot much better in the second half with a 42.9 percent (15-for-35) clip, including 4-for-7 from downtown, but Whitworth proved just too much with a 60 percent (12-for-20) shooting performance with a 17-for-23 effort at the free throw line in the final 20 minutes.
The Sabres were outscored 20-10 over the final 10:12 of the first half after the Sabres pulled to within 2 points at 14-12. Marian committed just three turnovers in the second half after a 10-turnover first half led the to big halftime deficit. Whitworth scored 14 points off Marian's turnovers, while the Sabres converted 12 points off 11 Pirate miscues.
Marian will be back in action tomorrow night, making the nearly 3 hour drive to Walla Walla, Washington to take on Whitman College (4-3) at 7 p.m. pacific time, 9 p.m. central.
(78-79), (79-80), (80-81), (82-83), (83-84),
(87-88), (89-90), (90-91), (98-99), (99-00),
NCAA Tournaments (2)