Briar Cliff men’s basketball’s national tournament run came to an end Saturday night as the Chargers fell to No. 3 seed Marian 105-66 in the quarterfinals in Sioux Falls. BC ends the season with a 22-9 overall record and finishes in the quarterfinals for the third time in four years.
“Tonight, we ran into a buzz saw,” said head coach Mark Svagera. “That’s a really good basketball team and they’re a really hard team to come back on. They’re so efficient offensively and they make you pay for every single mistake.”
The Cliff put up the first points of the game with a pair of free throws. The teams battled through the first five minutes but the Chargers could not keep up with the Knights’ hot shooting. The Cliff was down by 28 points with less than five minutes remaining in the half but chipped away and trailed by 17 after the first 20 minutes. Jay Wolfe hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put his first-half scoring total at 20 points. Briar Cliff played strong in the second half but struggled to cut into the Marian lead.
“I can’t fault our guys at all, they fought until the very end, which is exactly what I would expect from this group,” Svagera added. “Final score aside, I’m really proud of these guys. I think a lot of people probably wrote us off a few months back when Erich got hurt, and this group just stuck together.”
All six BC seniors checked in one final time to a standing ovation from the Charger crowd and Erich Erdman hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds to score his first points for the Cliff in more than three months.
Wolfe finished the contest with a game-high 32 points. He also led his team in rebounds with six and assists with four. Austin Roetman was the only other Charger in double figures, scoring 11 points. Wes Stowers scored 29 points for the Knights.
Marian finished the game shooting 62.3% from the field, 73.3% from beyond the arc and 75% from the free throw line. Briar Cliff was 39.2% in field goal shooting, 40.7% from the 3-point line and 88.2% from the charity stripe.