GWYNEDD VALLEY, Pa. - The third-seeded Marymount University men's basketball team traveled up to top-seeded Gwynedd Mercy University on Saturday afternoon for the first-ever Atlantic East Conference men's basketball championship game, falling behind in the second half to drop a close 75-69 decision.
Although the Griffins led for much of the game, the Saints battled to stay within striking distance the entire way. The first half was the best performance for Marymount, carrying a two-point advantage into the locker room after sophomore Steve Etienne converted a layup with 1:49 left until the break. With a 33-31 edge, the Saints spread the scoring out amongst seven different players, led by freshman Xavier Reaves and senior Brandon Rogers with nine and eight points, respectively, off the bench.
A slow start to the second half had the Saints fall into a double-digit deficit, with the Griffins opening with 12-straight points before Marymount called a timeout to regroup. The timeout proved useful, as Rogers and junior Josh Giardina knocked in two three-pointer to get the Saints within six, but the Griffins wouldn't let it get any closer.
The Saints shot 46.4 percent in the game and 43.5 percent from deep. Reaves and Rogers led the Marymount offense with 17 and 14 points, in that order, while Etienne chipped in nine points to go along with a game-high five steals and three blocks. Reaves also led the team in rebounds with seven.
Marymount is now 16-12 for the season, and will await to see if its season will continue in the ECAC men's basketball tournament. Check out www.marymountsaints.com for more information as it becomes available.