ROCKFORD, Ill. (SabreAthletics.com) – A dominating first half set the tone and Elan Solvik's 22 points were fit to outlast a high-powered offense as the Marian University men's basketball team staved off Rockford University, 78-70, to remain unbeaten in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.
The Sabres jumped out to a 16-point first-half lead before Rockford cut the deficit to as little as four points midway through the second half, but they never trailed in the final 20 minutes. Solvik set a career-high with 22 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 2-of-3 from the arc and 10-for-14 from the free throw line to lead three Sabres in double figures.
Sam Koslowski and Cody Veleke added 14 points apiece, while Jeff Harris chipped in seven points to lead a bench that outscored the Regents 22-7. Montrell Hobbs pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench as well. Scott Suchy scored a team-high 21 points to lead three Regents in double figures.
The Marian defense held Rockford to 36.9 percent from the field and a season-low point total, while out-rebounding the hosts, 45-39, en route to the win.
The Sabres improved to 5-3 overall, 4-0 in the NACC with the win, while the Regents dropped to 6-2 (3-2 NACC) with the loss.
Marian led by as many as 16 points near the end of the first half as Rockford struggled, going 8-for-27 (29.6 percent) from the field on the way to a 38-25 halftime deficit.
Three Marian starters dealt with foul trouble in the first half and the depth of the squad once again proved its worth as they outscored Rockford 20-5 in the opening 20 minutes. Harris led the way with seven in 11 minutes and sits just 12 points shy of 1,000 for his career. Hobbs pulled down nine boards to give Marian an 11-rebound advantage going into halftime.
In the second half, the Regents found their stroke and cut the deficit to four points at 52-48 following an 11-2 run midway through the second half.
The Sabres would respond behind Solvik, who knocked down a three-pointer and added a pair of free throws to quickly build the lead back to nine points. A Koslowski three would follow and, all the sudden, the advantage was back to double digits.
Rockford wouldn't get closer than six points the rest of the way.
Marian will return home for two league match-ups next week, beginning with Edgewood College (5-2, 3-1 NACC) Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m.