FOND DU LAC, Wis. (SabreAthletics.com) – Behind a balanced scoring attack the Marian University men's basketball team handed visiting Rockford College its first loss in Northern Athletics Conference play as the Sabres led wire-to-wire in a 65-60 win inside Sadoff Gymnasium this afternoon, Jan. 5.
The Sabres put two players in double figures, led by Alex Stecker and Sam Koslowski, who recorded 11 points apiece. Marian held a 33-27 rebounding advantage and turned 12 offensive caroms into 10 second-chance points en route to the win. Rockford was led by Scott Suchy's game-high 16 points, leading four Regents in double figures, but it wasn't enough.
Marian improved to 6-7 overall, 2-3 in the NAC with the win, while Rockford dropped to 5-8 (3-1 NAC) with the loss. The win marked the first for the Sabres in the last seven tries against the Regents.
Marian jumped out to a 5-0 lead out of the gate, thanks in part to a Koslowski three-pointer followed by a pair of Cody Veleke free throws. After Rockford cut the deficit to one, senior Jake Coenen came off the bench and provided a spark that would set a trend for the entire game. Coenen knocked down a pair of three's in a 12-3 run that gave the Sabres a 19-9 advantage midway through the first half.
He would finish with nine points on 3-for-6 shooting, while adding three rebounds and two steals. Marian shot 43.3 percent (13-for-30) from the field, including 6-for-14 from long distance, while holding Rockford to just 33.3 percent (9-for-27) and 0-for-6 from the outside en route to a 34-26 halftime lead.
In the second half, Marian pushed the lead to 10 on several occasions, but the Regents never led the game get out of reach.
Rockford's David Dixon played a major role down the stretch, connecting on back-to-back buckets to cut the Marian lead to three at 60-57 with 2:17 remaining. However, Veleke converted with a 10-foot jumper followed by three Drew Binversie free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Dixon tallied 11 points and 10 rebounds to record a double-double for the Regents, while Grant Olsen and Tory Minnifield added 15 and 13, respectively.
For the Sabres, Binversie added eight points and a team-high nine rebounds, while Veleke also finished with nine and eight rebounds. Mark Keller chipped in eight points and six rebounds (all offensive), while adding two blocks in 27 minutes off the bench.
Marian will try to make it three straight wins as it hosts Edgewood College this Wednesday, Jan. 9. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.