FOND DU LAC, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – The Marian University men's basketball team showed resilience against Northern Athletics Conference Preseason Favorite Lakeland College, but in the end free throw shooting made the difference as the visiting Muskies pulled out the 88-81 win inside Sadoff Gymnasium, this afternoon, Dec. 8.
The Sabres converted just 22-of-34 (64.7 percent) free throw attempts, including 15-of-24 (62.5 percent) in the second half in the loss. Three Sabres reached double figures with Drew Binversie leading the way with 19 points in 33 minutes. Lakeland's Jake Schwarz led all scorers with 26 points and a game-high 17 rebounds in leading his team to victory.
Lakeland remained unbeaten to move to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the NAC with the win. Meanwhile, Marian dropped to 3-5 (1-3 NAC) with the loss, marking all three league defeats by a combined nine points.
Marian trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, but made a charge before the break. The Sabres went on a 20-8 run over the final 7:26 to trail by just two points, 35-33, at halftime. Cody Veleke capped the big run with a three-pointer from the left wing as time expired.
The Oakfield native finished with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including two-of-two from downtown.
In the second half, the score was tied seven times with eight lead changes in an outright battle down the stretch. The lead changed hands several times over the final 10 minutes with the Sabres gaining a 65-64 advantage following a Veleke dunk and a pair of Binversie free throws at the 7:44 mark. The score would tie again numerous times, but that would be Marian's final lead of the contest.
Schwarz's 26 points followed by 20 from Justin Ward and 14 from Joey Burris led the Muskie attack down the stretch.
The Sabres will spend the next several days off as finals week gets in full swing before the University of Dubuque comes to town for a 5 p.m. tip-off next Saturday, Dec. 8.