RIVER FOREST, Ill. (SabreAthletics.com) – The Marian University men's basketball team suffered its second consecutive one point defeat as host Dominican University outscored the Sabres by 20 in the second half to win, 65-64, this afternoon, Dec. 1.
The Sabres had the Stars doubled up with a seemingly insurmountable, 38-19, lead at halftime. However, Dominican was not denied as they closed the gap and eventually took their first lead of the game with nine seconds left on a made free throw. The Sabres had a chance at the end, but it would be denied in the form of a block just before the final horn.
Dominican improved to 2-4 overall, 1-1 in the NAC with the win, while Marian fell to 2-4 (0-2 NAC) with the devastating loss.
In a tail of two halves, the Sabres owned the first, shooting over 54 percent (13-of-24) from the field, while going 5-of-6 from downtown and 7-of-8 at the free throw line.
Meanwhile, the Sabre defense was stifling, holding the Stars to 21.4 percent on 6-of-28 from the field and 1-of-9 from three. The Marian bench outscored Dominican, 18-5, and everything seemed to be going the way of the Sabres. They even pushed their lead to as many as 22 points before taking a 38-19 edge into the break.
The second half was an entirely different story. Trailing 44-26, Anthony Keener sparked a 19-3 run for the Stars that cut the deficit to 47-45, but the Sabres still maintained the lead. Marian responded with a 7-2 run to widen the gap, but Dominican kept the pedal to the metal.
The Sabres held a slim two-point, 64-62, lead with under a minute to go, but it was soon tied as Keener converted the first of two free throws with nine seconds left. Following a Marian timeout, he made the second one as well and Dominican held its first lead of the contest.
With four seconds left, Marian's Alex Stecker went for the win with a jump shot, but it was Keener again to the rescue for the Stars. He rejected Stecker's shot, secured the defensive rebound and let time expire to finish off the improbable comeback win.
Keener led all scorers with 21 points in 32 minutes of action. Marian was led by Mike Keller's 12 points and was joined in double figures by Cody Veleke (11), Sam Koslowski (10) and Drew Binversie (10).
Marian will seek its first conference victory Wednesday, Dec .5, when it travels to Milwaukee to take on MSOE in a 7 p.m. start.