FOND DU LAC, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – Behind a balanced scoring attack and a 29-10 margin in points off turnovers, the Marian University men's basketball team posted an 83-70 home victory over Rockford University, completing the regular season sweep over the Regents inside Sadoff Gymnasium, this afternoon, Jan. 11.
The Sabres (9-4, 8-1 NACC) maintained their one-game lead in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference standings with the 13-point win and it wasn't even that close. Marian led by as many as 23 points in the contest and maintained a double digit lead for the majority of the second half. The Sabres forced 15 first-half turnovers and converted them into 24 points to fuel its margin early on.
Six Sabres finished in double figures led by senior Cody Veleke's 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Senior Jeff Harris and freshman Josh Creed combined for 25 points, nine rebounds and seven steals off the bench as Marian outscored Rockford's bench, 37-15. Sophomore Brad Koth chipped in 11 points, while sophomore Drew Binversie and Sam Koslowski added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Junior Mike Keller fell one point shy of making it seven in double digits as he finished with nine points and seven rebounds.
"I thought we did a nice job of controlling the pace of the game and keeping possession of the ball," Head Coach Mark Boyle said. "We showed more consistency and the guys maintained their focus and I think it showed."
Rockford (8-7, 4-6 NACC) was coming off a loss to Lakeland in which it turned the ball over 31 times and the Sabres forced them into 22 more this afternoon.
"They want an upbeat game with a lot of possessions and quicker pace," Boyle said. "We're a team that can get up the floor as well, but we want to dictate that. We did a good job of containing their penetration and we were able to force them into some costly turnovers."
Over a span of 4:32 in the first half, the Sabres turned a 24-23 lead into a 14-point advantage with a 13-0 run. Marian forced four turnovers thanks to Binversie, Harris and Veleke. Harris capped the impressive run with a three-pointer at the 3:44 mark and it took the wind out of the Rockford sails.
"Drew played a solid game on both ends of the floor," Boyle said." That was really important. And Jeff and Josh [Creed] was key in the first half in creating turnovers and giving us a boost offensively."
The Sabres kept the throttle down in the second half, boosting the lead to as many as 23 points at 80-57 with 5:31 remaining in regulation. Koth scored all 11 of his points in the second half, going 4-for-5 from the field, including 3-of-4 from downtown.
Rockford was led by Scott Suchy's game-high 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. David Dixon, who came into the game with a league-leading 22.1 points per game, was held to just 14, but added a game-high 16 rebounds for a double-double.
"It's always nice to have momentum," Boyle said. "I thought we took a nice step tonight and we're going to have to look to repeat our consistency going forward."
The Sabres will face a difficult stretch as next week presents three challenging tests, beginning with a road match-up at Concordia University Wisconsin (7-6, 5-4 NACC) Tuesday, Jan. 14. Marian will return home to face second-place Lakeland College (11-3, 7-2 NACC) Thursday, Jan. 16, followed by Benedictine University (5-9, 3-6 NACC) on the road Saturday, Jan. 18.
(78-79), (79-80), (80-81), (82-83), (83-84),
(87-88), (89-90), (90-91), (98-99), (99-00),
NCAA Tournaments (2)