By: Sports Information Director, Luke Pattarozzi
MADISON, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – A 16-point second-half deficit wasn't enough to stop the streak as the Marian University men's basketball team scratched and clawed its way to seven straight wins in an 86-82 overtime victory on the road over host Edgewood College inside the Todd Wehr Edgedome, this evening, Feb. 6.
Gritty second-half defense led the charge as Marian shored up that end of the court to hold Edgewood from pulling away. At the offensive end, the Sabres turned it over just four times, including once during the entire second half and overtime.
Drew Binversie led the second-half comeback with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-12 from the field, while hauling in nine rebounds. Cody Veleke added 19 points, including a 9-for-10 effort at the free throw line. Alex Stecker chipped in 14 points, while Brad Koth had 10 off the bench. Edgewood's Justin Williams scored 20 points and hauled in a game-high 16 rebounds off the bench.
Marian improved to 15-8 overall, 10-4 in the NAC with the win. Meanwhile, Edgewood fell to 6-17 (5-9 NAC) with the loss.
A Brad Koth three-pointer gave the Sabres a 17-15 lead midway through the first half, but that would be the last Marian field goal for more than eight minutes. Meanwhile, the Eagles embarked on a 17-1 run to push the lead to as many as 14 in the opening frame.
The Eagles held Marian to just 33.3 percent (8-for-24) from the field and led in the rebounding department, 22-12, with eight offensive caroms.
"We struggled in the first half," Marian Head Coach Mark Boyle said. "But in the second half, we really shored up our defense. Free throws down the stretch were also huge."
The Sabres went 25-for-28 from the free throw line and forced 14 Eagle turnovers in the game, 10 of those coming in the second half and overtime.
"Effort and focus was our second half adjustment," Boyle added. "We'd been doing such a good job with offensive rebounds all year and struggled tonight. But we made up for it in taking care of the ball. We only had four turnovers in the game and that allowed us to have more chances, more opportunities."
The Sabres made the most of their opportunities. Using a 13-2 run over a four-minute stretch midway through the second half to cut the deficit to four points, 54-50, at the 8:45 mark.
Then, with 1:48 remaining and the Eagles leading 69-66, the Sabres got another chance on a Mike Keller offensive rebound and Binversie made the most of it by tying the game with a three-pointer from the corner.
After a pair of Edgewood free throws made it 71-69, Koth then tied it, stealing the inbounds following an EC timeout and laying it in with just 36 seconds remaining. Both teams would miss a chance to win it and the game headed to overtime.
Leading by one and nearing the 4:00 mark as the shot clock winded down, Stecker made it a 75-72 game with a 17-foot jumper.
Veleke and Stecker would go 4-for-4 at the charity stripe down stretch to seal the deal.
"We got big play after big play and hit big shots when it was most important," Boyle said. "[Edgewood] had to work for everything they were getting and we weren't giving them much. They have a pretty offensively talented team. This was a good win for us tonight."
Marian has now won seven straight games for the first time since it rallied off nine straight during the 2001-02 season. The Sabres have two regular season games remaining, beginning with a challenging NAC road tilt at Benedictine this Saturday, Feb. 9. Tip-off is slated for 4:15 p.m. in Lisle, Ill.
(78-79), (79-80), (80-81), (82-83), (83-84),
(87-88), (89-90), (90-91), (98-99), (99-00),
NCAA Tournaments (2)