FOND DU LAC, Wis. - Marian University men's basketball (7-7, 6-3 NACC) needed a second half rally but ultimately prevailed in overtime defeating Wisconsin Lutheran 92-89.
In a game where the Sabres struggled at the charity stripe, Marian was able to get it done at the free throw line in overtime going a perfect 6-6. A three-point basket from Evan Hansen with 2:25 left in the extra period gave Marian their first lead of overtime at 84-83 and a minute later a pair of free throws from fellow junior Tyrese Pinson gave the Sabres the lead for good. Junior Kelvin Jones would force a Warrior turnover in their next possession and drew a foul to give the Sabres a three-point cushion at 85-88. Jones would score six of the 12 Marian points in overtime and finished the game with a team-high 21 points.
Both offenses came out strong to open the game with Wisconsin Lutheran shooting 10-19 (.526) from the field including 4-7 (.571) from beyond the arc, while Marian went 17-35 (.486) and 4-9 (.444) from three-point land. The Warriors were able to build a 44-41 advantage at halftime thanks to the charity stripe where they went 20-27 (.741).
The Warriors then used the opening minutes of the second half to build their largest lead of the game at 57-47 with 15:35 left forcing a Marian timeout.
A pair of free throws from Ryan Biffert with 10:50 left in regulation sparked a 15-2 run with a pair of dunks from senior Alex Manhardt energizing the crowd. The spurt put the Sabres ahead 72-68 with 6:39 remaining.
Marian would only manage to build their lead to as big as six, however, following a pair of free throws from freshman Tavaris McCullough. Wisconsin Lutheran then used a quick 7-0 run to retake the lead at 77-76 with 1:19 in regulation. Freshman Logan Hamilton sank a free throw at the 1:05 mark to put the game at a 77-77 draw and ultimately force overtime.
The turnover battle tilted heavily toward Marian with the Sabres forcing 23 turnovers as MU out scored the Warriors 31-13 in points off turnovers. The Sabres also dominated down low as they out scored WLC 46-26 in the paint.
Hansen chipped in 16 points in the victory, while Pinson and Manhardt each added 10 points. Manhardt also nearly missed a double-double with eight rebounds to go with three blocks and four assists. Defensively, Pinson, Jones and McCullough each had three steals to lead Marian to a season-high 17 steals.
Marian closes out a three-game homestand hosting Benedictine at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13.