SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - The Marian University men's basketball team had its second four-game winning streak of the season snapped after the Knights suffered a 70-50 defeat to Wittenberg University in the championship game of the 2011 Charles B. Zimmerman Memorial Classic on Friday night at Pam Evans Smith Arena in Springfield, Ohio.
Sophomore Jake Stafford
led a pair of Knights in double figures with a team-high 14 points. He also added four assists and four rebounds, while junior Aaron Evans
, who was named all-tournament, hit for 13 points and had three steals. Senior Alex Sylvester
, who was also named all-tournament, added eight points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
The Knights (9-5) fell behind quickly as the Tigers jumped out to a 12-4 run over the first 4:54 and, eventually, pushed the lead to 11 at 21-10 with 11:46 to go in the first half. MU chipped away as a Stafford jumper cut it to seven, but Wittenberg (7-3) went into the locker room with a 35-24 advantage.
MU shot just 37 percent (10-of-27) from the field, while the Tigers shot 52 percent (14-of-27) for the half. WU carried a 20-13 rebounding edge into the interval and the Knights struggled to recover. The Tigers got a solid contribution from the bench as they had a 12-0 advantage over the Knights in the first 20 minutes.
The second half saw the Knights chip away to open the frame, but a key WU three-pointer brought the lead to 12 at 42-30 with 14:37 to go. The Knights were able to get within eight, 48-40, on a three-pointer by Sylvester with 10:35 remaining, but then WU took over. Over the next 8:16, the Tigers out-scored the Knights 22-8 to take a 22-point lead, 70-48, with 2:19 to go. MU hit one more shot, but Wittenberg was able to win its 25th Zimmerman Classic championship by a 70-50 win over the Knights.
The Tigers are now 7-0 all-time against MU with five of those victories coming in the championship game of the Zimmerman Classic.
After the New Year shifts to 2012, the Knights will play host to 12th-ranked Goshen College (13-2) as both teams return to Mid-Central College Conference action. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m., and the game will feature live video, audio and stats at www.muknights.com