MADISON, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – A brutal stretch of six games in 12 days was capped by a second straight overtime win as the first-place Marian University men's basketball team survived Edgewood College on the road, 67-63, to win its seventh straight, Wednesday evening, Jan. 22.
The Sabres(14-4, 12-1 NACC) battled back from 10 points down in the first half to trail by just three at halftime. They led by six points in the second half before the Eagles (9-7, 7-4 NACC) staged a comeback to force overtime. Then in the extra frame, Mike Keller registered an offensive put-back to give the Sabres a 61-59 lead and Drew Binversie finished it off with a pair of game-clinching free throws to seal the win.
Senior Sam Koslowski finished with a team-high 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting, while Cody Veleke, Alex Stecker and Binversie each finished with 10 points apiece. Marian shot 49 percent (24-for-49) in the contest, while holding Edgewood to 38.3 percent (23-for-60) and outscoring the hosts in the paint, 40-32.
"It just came down to defensive stops in overtime and playing together when things got rough," Koslowski said. "This was a huge win for us after playing so many games in a row and it was a nice way to finish the last two weeks. Every player in a blue uniform tonight helped us win this game."
The Sabres jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before the Eagles went on a 20-6 run to take a 10-point advantage at the 13:20 mark in the first half.
Justin Williams turned in a tremendous effort and keyed the big run early on. He finished with a game-high 21 points and 12 rebounds, going 6-of-10 from the field, including 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Dylan Rusch and Emilio Lopez added 16 and 14 points, respectively, for the Eagles.
For the remainder of the first half, the Sabres slowly chipped away at the double-digit deficit. With 10:45 left, Koslowski knocked down a three to cut it to 22-16.
Inside of five minutes in the first half, Montrell Hobbs made a big impact. On three straight possessions, he provided a pair of free throws, a basket to make it a two-point game and a block at the other end of the floor. The freshman finished with eight points, three rebounds and two blocks to lead a bench that outscored Edgewood, 20-3.
The Sabres trailed 33-30 at the break, but was able to tie the game at 38-38 less than five minutes into the second half on a three-point play by Koslowski at the 15:40 mark.
"That gave us a huge momentum boost after trailing most of the game before that," Koslowski said. "We wanted to come out of halftime with a lot more energy. Mike and Cody really picked up their play in the second half and did an awesome job rebounding."
The Sabres used a 14-4 run to take a seven-point advantage on Veleke's layup with 11:23 remaining in regulation and matched their largest lead of the game of eight points on a pair of Keller free throws to make the score 49-41 with just under 10 minutes to go.
Edgewood clawed back, however, and tied the game at 57-all with 3:32 left. Koslowski knocked down a big shot with 1:04 remaining to give the Sabres a 59-57 lead, but Rusch answered back with a layup with 31 seconds left. Binversie missed a jumper in the final few seconds and the Sabres were forced to play their second overtime game in three days.
Keller came up big in the extra-frame, hauling in an offensive rebound and getting the second-chance basket to give Marian a 61-59 lead a little over a minute in.
After a Williams tip-in, Veleke knocked down a 15-foot jumper before an Alex Stecker layup gave the Sabres a four-point lead they would not relinquish.
The Sabres out-rebounded the Eagles, 34-32, in the win.
Marian will get some much-needed rest before returning to the friendly confines of Sadoff Gymnasium where it is 8-0 this season to host Wisconsin Lutheran College (5-11, 3-9 NACC) next Tuesday, Jan. 28. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
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NCAA Tournaments (2)