ARDEN HILLS, Minn. (SabreAthletics.com) – Despite a 17-point comeback late in the second half, the Marian University men's basketball team was unable to finish an impressive come-from-behind effort as Luther College escaped with a 71-69 victory in the opening game of the Bethel University Tip-Off Tournament, Friday evening, Nov. 22.
All hope looked lost when the Sabres trailed by as many as 17 points when the Norse took a 61-44 lead with 10:17 remaining in the game. However, a Brad Koth three sparked a 17-1 run and Marian pulled to within a point with more than five minutes remaining. The Sabres took a 67-65 lead with 3:31 left, but would not score again until a tip-in at the buzzer provided the final tally.
Senior Elan Solvik poured in a game-high 16 points to lead four Sabres in double figures, but it wasn't enough as Luther's 11-for-25 effort from beyond the arc proved the difference in the outcome. Aaron Huber and Nathan Meyer tied for a team-high 11 points after knocking down three triples apiece.
Early on, Marian's shooting woes continued from its last outing, a double digit loss to host Ripon. The Sabres shot just 37.9 percent (11-for-29) in the first half and went just 2-of-7 from three-point range. Meanwhile, the Norse connected 44.8 percent (13-for-29), including six three's to take a 37-25 lead into halftime.
Marian came out of the second half still looking for its shooting stroke and finally found it with about 10 minutes remaining. Koth's three sparked the comeback and freshman Montrell Hobbs added two big offensive rebound put backs to keep the rally going. Senior Cody Veleke registered eight of his 11 points in the final 7:33. His layup with 4:06 left tied the game at 65-all.
Next possession, he gave the Sabres their first lead of the game with 3:31 left in the game. After two made free throws gave the Norse a two-point lead, the Sabres had a chance to tie or take the lead, but a turnover squandered that opportunity and Luther capitalized with two Jake Martin free throws to make it a two possession game with just seven seconds remaining to seal the game.
The Sabres will turnaround to play UW-Eau Claire at 6 p.m. while Luther takes on tournament host Bethel at 8 p.m. tomorrow, Nov. 23.
(78-79), (79-80), (80-81), (82-83), (83-84),
(87-88), (89-90), (90-91), (98-99), (99-00),
NCAA Tournaments (2)