MEQUON, Wis.- Concordia Wisconsin got the victory they desperately needed but not without a second half battle from a determined Marian contingent.
CUW appeared to be in control during the first half, grabbing leads of up to 16 points (35-19) before settling for a 40-28 margin at the break.
The Sabres came out of halftime with renewed energy, however, and kept chipping away at the Falcon cushion before finally taking brief leads.
Brad Koth's 3-pointer gave Marian their first lead 49-47 with 11:34 remaining in the contest and the visitors actually went up by four (56-52) on a Cody Veleke jumper with 6:54 left.
That's when Sean Cassidy's team shook off the doldrums and regrouped. A pair of Steve Zielinski (Sr./ Brown Deer, Wis.) free throws allowed CUW to regain the lead 59-58 with 2:52 left and the Falcons kept adding to their lead on charity tosses down the stretch with Malcolm Bowers (So./ Germantown, Wis.) and Pace each going 4-4 during the final 1:20.
Marian actually put up 20 more shots than CUW, but the Falcon connected on 43% of their attempts compared to 35% marksmanship for the visitors. The free throw line was HUGE for CUW as the Falcons went to the line 38 times and managed to hit 29 of those. Marian only had 13 opportunities, making 10.
Mark Pace (Sr./ Milwaukee, Wis.) led Concordia with a 21 point performance that included a perfect 13-13 from the charity stripe. Brian Jackson (Sr./ Carol Stream, Ill.) had 11 points and the same number of rebounds.
Zielinski recorded nine blocked shots during the game, giving him 28 so far in 2012-13 conference play, and 40 for the season. His CUW career blocked shot total stands at 90.
Concordia owned the boards 37-29 but turned the ball over 14 times compared to Marian's nine errors.
Marian fell to 4-4 in NAC action and 8-8 on the season. CUW, 6-2 and second in the NAC North, travels to Edgewood on Thursday. Lakeland leads the NAC North with a perfect 8-0 record.