MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - The Marian University men's basketball team fell to Mount Vernon Nazarene University, 63-60, in a crucial Mid-Central College Conference showdown at the Physical Education Center in Mount Vernon, Ohio on Saturday afternoon.
The Knights fell to 12-7 overall and 3-5 in the MCC, while MVNU improved to 8-12 overall and 2-6 in league play.
Senior Alex Sylvester
led a pair of Knights in double figures after he scored 16 points, grabbed five rebounds and handed out four assists. Junior Aaron Evans
added 16 points in 32 minutes of action for the Knights. Freshman Eric Harris
added eight points, four rebounds and three steals, while sophomore Jake Stafford
added a game-high seven rebounds and handed out four assists.
The Knights and Cougars battled through a first half that featured three ties and eight lead changes. MU's largest lead of the half was one, while MVNU held a five-point lead, 24-19, with 8:31 to go in the half. The Cougars were able to hold take a 31-30 lead into the locker room at the half after they shot 61 percent (11-for-18), including four three-pointers, over the first 20 minutes of play. MU shot 43 percent (13-for-30), but shot just 20 percent (2-for-10) from three-point range.
Harris hit a three-pointer to open the second half and sparked a 7-1 run that gave MU a 37-32 lead with 18:09 remaining. An MVNU three-pointer cut it back to two, but the Knights went on an 8-2 run to take a 45-37 lead with 14:27 to go. MVNU answered with a quick 5-0 spurt to cut it back to three at 45-42 with 13:07 to go. The Cougars were able to come all the way back with 5:31 remaining as they tied the score, 52-52, on a jumper by Robbie Taylor.
Evans scored the next five points on a three-point play and a layup as MU went on a short 5-0 run to take a 57-52 lead with 4:04 remaining. That was the last time MU would score for the next four minutes. MVNU went on an 11-0 run to open a 63-57 lead with four seconds remaining. Sylvester hit a three-pointer at the buzzer, but MVNU was able to secure the 63-60 home win.
Evans scored 12 of his 16 points in the second frame, while Sylvester scored nine of his 16 in the half. The Knights shot 43 percent (12-for-28) from the field in the second half and held MVNU to just 39 percent (9-for-23).
MU will return to the Physical Education Center on Tuesday night when the Knights play host to No. 5-ranked Grace College (17-2; 7-1 MCC). Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. Live video, audio and stats will be available at www.muknights.com