(MARIAN PRESS RELEASE)
INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian men’s basketball team held off a late rally from St. Francis and secured its fourth-straight win Tuesday night, defeating the Cougars 93-91 on John Grimes Court in Indianapolis. It’s Marian’s fifth-straight win over their rival and the Knights are now 16-4 overall and 7-2 in the Crossroads League.
Fresh off of a Crossroads League Player of the week honor on Monday, Cameron Wolter came out strong in the first five minutes. He scored an early bucket and then got the hoop and the harm before the first media timeout with 15:14 to play. After making the free throw he already sat at five points and three rebounds, which helped Marian to a 10-7 lead.
Marian took advantage on the glass early, scoring eight of its first 15 points on second chances. In addition, the Knights got 3-pointers from Christian Stewart, Hayden Langkabel and Nick Rogers in the first 10 minutes. A 10-4 run for the Knights that included a two-plus minutes scoring drought for the Cougars, made Marian’s lead 27-21 with 6:49 to play in the half, which was Marian’s largest of the game.
The two teams traded baskets down the stretch in the first half as both heated up from the field. Marian knocked down five-straight field goals, including three in a row from Christian Harvey. He was able to get to the hoop to finish a layup before draining a deep 3-pointer on the next possession. After a steal on the defensive end, he finished in transition to push Marian’s lead to 10, 39-29, with 2:18 to play, which forced a Cougar timeout.
St. Francis trimmed the lead back down to six at one point, but a 3-pointer at the buzzer from Stewart sent Marian to the locker room with a 45-35 lead. Marian shot 56 percent from the field and St. Francis was 52 percent, but the Knights hit seven threes compared to St. Francis’ three. The Knights did damage off St. Francis’ eight turnovers, scoring 14 points. Harvey, Wolter and Stewart combined for 29 of Marian’s 45 points.
Marian picked up where they left off in the second half, knocking down four of their first five field goal attempts and stretching the lead to as much as 13. Wolter and Harvey each had a bucket before the first media timeout and Langkabel scored four points in the run. After the media timeout, St. Francis put together a quick 6-0 run to pull within six with 14 minutes to play. It was the closest the Cougars had been since the three minute mark of the first half.
Harvey stopped the momentum with a tough bucket in transition, and after a traveling call on St. Francis, Wolter finished in the lane and completed the three-point play the old-fashioned way to send the lead back to 11 with 12:32 to play. St. Francis tried to get back into the game, but each Cougar bucket was met with an answer from Harvey or Wolter. However, with just under nine to play, Antwaan Cushingberry scored in traffic to bring St. Francis within five, and on the next possession he converted a three-point play to make the deficit just four.
The Knights responded with a 6-0 run to go back up by 10 and looked as though they might close the game out with ease. However, St. Francis racheted up the pressure down by 11 with 1:52 to play. The Cougars scored seven unanswered points in 32 seconds to pull within four, which prompted a Marian timeout. The Knights used all 30 seconds of the shot clock out of the timeout, but came up empty and St. Francis was unable to capitalize at the other end, bricking a pair of free throws.
After Tyrie Johnson split a pair of free throws, St. Francis hit a three to pull within three. A turnover by Marian gave the ball back to the Cougars and USF scored at the rim to make it 90-89 in favor of Marian with 11.4 to play. Stewart was fouled on the inbounds pass and calmly sank two free throws to put Marian back up three. Again St. Francis scored at the rim and fouled Marian, which sent Harvey to the line for two shots. He split the pair and St. Francis’ last second heave missed to seal the Marian win.
The Knights shot 54 percent from the field and hit 30-of-38 free throw attempts, while St. Francis shot 56 percent. St. Francis won the rebounding battle 33-27, but Marian committed 11 turnovers to St. Francis’ 14. Wolter put together another double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Harvey scored 22 points and had four steals. Stewart added 19 and Langkabel scored 13 for the Knights.
The Knights are on the road Saturday at Grace as they look for a season sweep of the Lancers at 3 p.m.