DALLAS, Pa. - The Marymount University men's basketball team traveled up to Pennsylvania on Wednesday night for the first round of the ECAC Division III Championship, topping Misericordia University, 76-69, to advance to Championship Weekend at Hood College.
The Saints will take on Drew University on Friday night at 8 p.m., in Frederick, Maryland, after the Rangers defeated Atlantic East's Neumann University in another first-round game on Wednesday night.
Defense was key in the victory, as the Saints forced the Cougars into 24 turnovers in the game and converted them into 30 points, nearly half of the points for Marymount. The Saints also made their way to the free-throw line 33 times in the 40 minutes of play, knocking in 21.
A strong late run in the first half paced the way, dropping in 39 points in the first 20 minutes to take a 14-point lead into the locker room. Much of that momentum came in the final six minutes of the period, registering 19 unanswered points to go from trailing 25-20 to having a 39-25 advantage at the break.
The Saints held their double-digit lead for roughly seven minutes after the restart and continued to keep a fair enough distance, but the Cougars inched their way back into the game. With just under a minute left in the contest, a three pointer by Misericordia got it within three, 72-69, but junior Josh Giardina sealed up the win with a perfect 4-for-4 at the free-throw line to take the 76-69 decision and advance in the tournament.
Four starters found double figures in scoring led by junior Taiga Walker with a game-high 19 points, while junior Steve Etienne added 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Giardina and senior Brandon Rogers also scored double digits with 11 and 10, respectively.
Marymount heads to Hood for the rest of the tournament, taking on Drew on Friday night at 8 p.m., in the Quarterfinals.