November 21, 2012

Vikings Slip By Sabres in Non-Conference Action

APPLETON, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – The Marian University men's basketball team was unable to tame the hot-shooting of host Lawrence University as it fell, 83-76, in a non-conference road contest inside Alexander Gymnasium, this evening, Nov. 21.

Marian jumped out to a 10-2 lead to start the game, but then Lawrence found its shooting stroke en route to a 56 percent shooting half from the field and 10-point lead at halftime. The Sabres cut it to a single possession game on several occasions, but the Vikings were able to seal it at the line for their first win of the season.

"They're a good shooting team," Marian Head Coach Mark Boyle said of Lawrence. "I thought we could have done a better job getting out to them on the perimeter. Mix that with the fact we had some chances at the free throw line and that was the difference in the game."

Lawrence evened its record at 1-1 overall with the win, while the Sabres fell to 1-2 with the loss.

Things looked to be going in Marian's favor after a 10-2 run forced Lawrence to call its first timeout at the 16:34 mark. But before long, Conor Klusendorf connected on back-to-back three's to put the Vikings up by four, 22-18, with 8:34 left in the first half. Those were Klusendorf's lone three-pointers as he finished 6-of-8 from the field with a team-high 17 points.

Despite shooting 55.6 percent in the first half on 15-of-27 from the field, including 4-of-7 from three, Marian still trailed by 10 points, 47-37. The Vikings went 17-for-30 (56.7 percent) and knocked down five three's.

After making some key defensive adjustments at halftime, the Sabres closed the gap to four points, 50-46, by the 15:34 mark. However, the Vikings would stretch it right back to double-digits.

Freshman Alex Stecker appeared to have a strong hold on the offense as his six assists to just one turnover kept the Sabres in it to the end. He helped fuel a 12-3 run late in the second half with an assist to Mike Keller, who finished the layup and the three-point play to cut the deficit to 72-69 with 3:32 remaining.

Juniors Cody Veleke and Sam Koslowski led the Marian offense with 23 and 20 points, respectively. Veleke converted a pair of free throws at the 3:10 mark to cut the Viking lead to just two, 73-71.

However, a 10-5 Viking run down the stretch, thanks to solid free throw shooting, sealed the victory for the hosts.

The Sabres will have a couple days off before hosting Ripon in the home opener this Saturday, Nov. 24.

"We need to play more consistent defensively," Boyle said. "Ripon is probably going to be a little more physical. We need to work on playing full games."

The Sabres will look to avenge an 82-71 loss to the Red Hawks at home a year ago. Tip-off for this Saturday's non-conference tilt is slated 3 p.m. inside Sadoff Gymnasium.