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Saints down Mighty Macs to advance to Atlantic East semifinals

Saints down Mighty Macs to advance to Atlantic East semifinals

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Marymount University men's basketball team earned its spot in the Atlantic East Conference tournament semifinals, defeating Immaculata University in a first-round contest, 64-51, on Monday at the Converse Family Fieldhouse.

The sixth-seeded Mighty Macs took an early lead in the game, 13-7, through the first seven minutes. They continued to hold their lead, pushing it to 17-11 with 7:40 to go in the first half.

Junior Taiga Walker hit a jumper from the top of the key to spark the third-seeded Saints, starting a 22-5 run. Walker added a layup to tie the game, 17-17, and eventually two free throws to give Marymount a 21-20 lead.

Junior Josh Giardina drained a three to continue the run, and back-to-back layups from freshman Xavier Reaves and Giardina pushed the lead to six, 28-22.

A three from junior LaDarius McCord, followed by another Reaves layup gave the Saints a 33-22 lead at the break.

At halftime, Walker was leading the team with eight points, while McCord dished out four assists. As a team, the Saints were shooting 48.3 percent and held a 16-13 edge on the boards.

The Mighty Macs took advantage of a slow start to the second half for the Saints, cutting back into the lead to get the score down to 33-29.

However, Giardina hit another shot from long range to get the Saints back on the board almost seven minutes into the half. He converted a layup and free throw for a three-point play to get the lead back to double figures, 41-29.

Back-to-back threes from senior Brandon Rogers and freshman Roey Stern continued the Saints 14-2 run to take a 47-31 lead.

Immaculata was able to get back to within 10, at 52-42, but a layup from Walker ended an 8-3 spurt for the Saints to rebuild a 15-point lead. They remained in control from there to take the victory.

Walker led the way with 13 points, while Giardina chipped in with 11. Junior Ryan Albert led the way with eight rebounds, while scoring 10 points.

The Saints will now travel to No. 2 seed Marywood University for a semifinal contest on Wednesday, February 20; the start time of the game is to be determined.