By: Sports Information Director, Luke Pattarozzi
FOND DU LAC, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – Junior guard Jeff Harris missed one shot in posting a game-high 26 points as the Marian University men's basketball team pulled off an upset win over first place Edgewood College, 70-69, in Northern Athletics Conference play this evening, Jan. 25.
The Sabres trailed for the majority of the first half before taking their first lead, 28-27, with 35 seconds left before halftime. In the second half, Marian trailed three times by no more than a point before regaining the lead for good at the 11:35 mark. Clutch free throws and timely defense spurred the upset win as the Sabres went 17-of-19 at the free throw line and stopped a point blank, go-ahead scoring opportunity for the Eagles with just three seconds remaining in the game.
Harris missed his first shot of the night and then went on to drain his last 10 field goal attempts, including four three's, while going 2-for-2 at the free throw line. Ken Faurote led the Eagles with 22 points, while Ben Wisniewski added 17. Mark Keller and Mike Keller reached double-figures as well for the Sabres, turning in 13 and 10, respectively.
Marian improves to 7-12 overall, 4-7 in the NAC after winning its fourth game in the last five tries. Meanwhile, Edgewood falls in conference play for just the second time, moving to 14-4 (8-2 NAC).
There were three ties and seven lead changes, but none after the 11:35 mark in the second half. Neither team held a lead of more than seven points, while the margin stayed within four points in the final 2:33 of game action.
Leading 64-57, with 3:14 left, the Eagles showed why they came into the game with just one conference defeat. Cashton Craig hit a three to cut the deficit to four. Then a Faurote block at the other end led to a Wisniewski three and a foul for a chance to tie the score on the free throw. He missed and then fouled Mark Keller, who turned the Sabre lead back into three points. It was a major swing that proved costly in the end.
After a Faurote jumper cut the lead to 66-65, the ensuing Marian possession saw Harris roll off a screen wide open for three at the top of the key and Ruffing found him for one of his three assists in the game to make it a four-point game.
Leading 70-69 with 15 seconds left, Harris made an errant pass that gave Edgewood a chance to take the lead with the final possession. After winding down the game clock to four seconds, the Eagles called timeout to set up a play. Off the inbounds, Wisniewski fired it inside to Faurote, who went up for the layup on the right side, but it rolled off the rim and went out of bounds, last touched by the Eagles.
All the Sabres needed to do from there was inbound the ball securely and they did to close out the thrilling win.
Marian shot 57.9 percent for the game, going 22-for-38 from the floor, including 9-of-14 from three. They were 11-for-18 in the second half alone. Meanwhile, Edgewood bounced back from an 8-for-22 first half to shoot 64 percent (16-for-25) in the second half. Even that wasn't enough to prevent an upset bid.
Cody Veleke finished with nine points in 25 minutes for the Sabres as he found himself in foul trouble for most of the game. Alex Gomez came away with seven points in 17 big minutes off the bench.
Marian will be idle until another tough NAC match-up against Concordia Wisconsin on the road, Jan. 31. The Sabres will look to avenge an 82-54 defeat from earlier this season.
(78-79), (79-80), (80-81), (82-83), (83-84),
(87-88), (89-90), (90-91), (98-99), (99-00),
NCAA Tournaments (2)