LISLE, Ill. - Marian University men's basketball (0-4, 0-1 NACC) outscored Benedictine 37-29 in the opening half but couldn't hold off the Eagles in the second half ultimately falling 82-78.
Marian would shoot a blistering 16-31 (.516) from the field in the opening stanza including 4-10 (.400) from beyond the arc. The Sabres would score the first 13 points of the game only to see their lead trimmed down to six at 20-14 at the midway point of the half.
The offense was balanced with senior Alex Manhardt leading the way with five boards and nine points, while the Sabre defense also looked good in the opening half forcing eight Eagle turnovers.
Just as the Sabres had opened the game strong, the Eagles started the second half well scoring the first seven points out of the break to cut the Sabre lead to one. Marian responded, however, stretching the lead back out to 13 at 53-40 with 12:41 remaining following a three-pointer from junior Ryan Biffert and layup from freshman Will Olewinski forcing an Eagle timeout.
Marian would hold a 67-57 lead with 6:50 left before Benedictine scored the next 12 points unanswered to take their first lead at 69-67 with 4:27 left. From there the Eagles would retain the lead the remainder of the game and drop the Sabres in the NACC opener for both squads.
The Sabres outscored the Eagles in the paint 30-14 in the loss and finished the game shooting 28-61 (.459) including 7-19 (.368) from beyond the arc. The charity stripe proved to be a big factor in the Eagle comeback as Benedictine went 26-36 (.722) from the free throw line.
Manhardt had a big second half to finish the game with a team-high 25 points and nine rebounds. Olewinski chipped in 11 points off the bench for Marian.
Marian returns home when they host MSOE for a 7 p.m. tip Tuesday, Nov. 28 from Sadoff Gym.