ARDEN HILLS, Minn. (SabreAthletics.com) – Sophomore Drew Binversie turned in his second career double-double, but it wasn't enough to erase another double digit, second-half deficit as UW-Eau Claire held on for an 81-79 victory on the final day of the Bethel University Tip-Off Tournament, this evening, Nov. 23.
Binversie registered a team-high 17 points and 13 rebounds to key a second half comeback that fell just short of stunning a Blugold squad that proved very efficient in the paint. UW-Eau Claire held a 44-20 advantage in the paint to go along with a 42-33 edge in the rebound department.
Adam Hjelter poured in a game-high 20 points to lead the Blugolds (3-1), while Lewis Mau scored 16 points and pulled down 13 boards for a double-double.
Marian (1-3) trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half before staking a comeback that came within two points of another remarkable run in the final stretch. The Sabres fell for the third time in a row and by two points for the second time in as many nights.
UW-Eau Claire got off to a fast start with an 11-3 lead in the early minutes of the first half, but a quick 30-second timeout by Marian Head Coach Mark Boyle proved very effective. The next three-plus minutes accounted for a 14-0 Sabre run.
The Blugolds would answer back to shoot 45.2 percent (14-for-31) for the half, including six made three's - the final one, a Mau buzzer-beater to give his squad a 43-35 advantage at the break.
A big 17-5 run for UWEC equaled their largest lead of the game of 15 points at 64-49 with 12:48 remaining. The Sabres responded with a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to five points and set up a very tight finish down the stretch.
The Sabres cut the deficit to a single possession three times in the final minute of play, but couldn't convert on a desperation three at the buzzer following a pair of Blugold missed free throws.
Despite the loss, the Sabres shot over 46 percent and put four players in double figures for the third time this season. Senior Sam Koslowski chipped in 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting, while fellow seniors Cody Veleke and Jeff Harris added 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Marian will now have a full week to work out the kinks and prepare for its first Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference opponent in Dominican University. The Sabres will welcome the Stars into Sadoff Gymnasium Saturday, Nov. 30, for a 2 p.m. start.
(78-79), (79-80), (80-81), (82-83), (83-84),
(87-88), (89-90), (90-91), (98-99), (99-00),
NCAA Tournaments (2)