SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Marian men’s basketball team put on a show Saturday night and dominated Briar Cliff, winning 105-66 in the NAIA Men’s Basketball DII National Championship Tournament Quarterfinals at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Marian is 28-7 with the win, setting a program record for wins and making the program’s first trip to the national semifinals.
The Knights wasted no time settling in on the offensive end, scoring 15 points in the first five minutes to take a 15-10 lead. Wes Stowers, TJ Henderson and Sterling Brown each scored five points during the stretch, and the Knights buried three 3-pointers. Much like Friday night against Southwestern’s Cam Hunt, Marian had to deal with high-scoring Briar Cliff guard Jay Wolfe who scored 43 points in the tournament opener.
Wolfe was quiet to start, but hit his first field goal at the 15:55 mark. After Marian built a nine point lead, Wolfe cut it to six with a basket at the 11:30 mark, but there was simply nothing the Chargers could do to slow the Knights. After Wolfe’s basket, Marian went on a 17-0 run to take a 43-20 lead with 6:55 to play in the half. Reginald Kissoonlal capped the run with a 3-pointer, and Marian eventually took a 54-37 lead to the locker room.
Marian was lights out in the half, shooting 65 percent from the field and hitting 8-of-9 3-pointers. Stowers was 7-for-10 for 18 points by himself, scoring in a variety of ways against the Briar Cliff defense. Brown added 11 points and Henderson scored 10 as the Knights led by as much as 28 in the half.
If there were any thoughts of the Knights cooling off in the second half, Kissoonlal put them to bed with a basket on the Knights’ first possession and Henderson added four quick points to push Marian’s lead back over 20 with 17 minutes to play. Briar Cliff trimmed the lead to 18 with 10:54 to play, but they would never come closer as Marian stretched the lead to 42 by game’s end. Stowers matched Wolfe bucket for bucket and wound up with a team-high 29 points as Marian cruised to the semifinals with its biggest tournament win in program history.
The Knights finished 62 percent from the field and hit 11-of-15 3-pointers along with 18-of-24 free throws. Briar Cliff shot 39 percent from the field and were 11-of-27 from downtown. Marian dominated the glass 36-21 and forced 14 turnoves, while committing just five.
Stowers grabbed four rebounds and dished out five assists to go along with his 29 points, while Brown and Henderson each scored 14. Kissoonlal finished with 13 points and Hayden Langkabel added 12 off the bench. Cameron Wolter scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds, while Mark Albers scored seven and hauled in five rebounds.
With the win, Marian advances to the NAIA Men’s Basketball DII National Championship Tournament Semifinals and will face Crossroads League foe Spring Arbor. Tip time is set for 9 PM ET Monday night.
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Briar Cliff University
(19)Briar Cliff University
FINAL – MEN’S BASKETBALL 1 2 F
Marian 28-7 54 51 105
Briar Cliff (Iowa) 22-9 37 29 66
Mar. 9, 2019
Sanford Pentagon Sioux Falls, SD
MARIAN INDV. LEADERS BRIAR CLIFF (IOWA)
#04 Wes Stowers – 29 Points #05 Wolfe, Jay – 32
2 Players (#12,#21) – 5 Rebounds #05 Wolfe, Jay – 6
#04 Wes Stowers – 5 Assists #05 Wolfe, Jay – 4