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OTTAWA – Marquette got hot shooting to start the game and solid play off the bench in the second half to go along with another big night from Elliot Kowalski as the Crusaders snapped a five-game losing streak Friday night at Bader Gymnasium in Ottawa with a 52-43 victory over Roanoke-Benson in Tri-County Conference action.
It only took Michael Sypniewski about 10 seconds into the game to get the Crusaders the lead as he drained a 3-pointer from the top of the arc.
About a minute later, Sypniewski hit a second long-range shot to give the Cru an 8-3 lead.
“They were backing down into the lane so we told him take the shot,” Crusaders head coach Mike McDonald said. “He was hot early and that got us started off on the right foot.”
Mitch Endres picked up one of his four big assists in the game with a pass to Kowalski to end the first quarter with Marquette up 12-9.
After a Cru layup extended the lead to 14-9, Sypniewski drained his third shot behind the arc and Austin McDonnell followed with one of his own for a 20-12 lead.
The Rockets then cut the lead in half with a layup from Sam Luginbuhl and another from Grant Leman, who went coast-to-coast. The two teams traded baskets before McDonnell had a nice up-and-under move to give the Crusaders a 26-23 halftime lead.
The Rockets started out the second half strong on a 6-2 run to take a brief 29-28 lead on back-to-back jump shots from Leman and Michael Doss.
Then Endres re-entered the game and made an immediate impact, feeding Kowalski in the post on two straight possessions and then hitting a left handed hook shot for a 35-31 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
“Mitch really gave us some nice play off the bench,” McDonald said. “He made some nice feeds into the post and Kowalski was the recipient of those passes and had a couple key rebounds as well.”
Clayton Barth hit a 3-pointer for the Rockets to cut the lead to 41-36, but an Endres stick-back gave the Crusaders a 45-38 lead.
From there Marquette made solid pass after solid pass to keep the ball away from Roanoke-Benson as they tried to foul.
Once the Rockets did finally fou,l Marquette successfully killed over 30 seconds off the clock and then hit their free throws to come away with the 52-43 victory.
Kowalski led all scorers with 20 points while Sypniewski added 11. Doss led the Rockets with 10.