PHOENIX, Ariz. — No. 8 ranked Marietta College held on to defeat Lake Forest College, 80-77, Saturday (Dec. 29) afternoon in the consolation game of the D3 Desert Invitational. The Pioneers improve to 11-1 on the season, while the Foresters slip to 6-5 overall.
Senior Keith Richardson was one of three Pioneers to hit three three-pointers in the game and led all scorers with 20 points. Kyle Dixon and Lukas Isaly each sank three from behind the arc. Dixon finished with 16 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Isaly chipped in with 11 points.
Sean Espinosa led four Foresters in double figures with 18 points. Sam Husting and Aram Arslanian each scored 15 points, while Danny Sotos added 11 points. Jordan Moran grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
The first 10 minutes of the game was a back and forth affair with neither team leading by more than four points. Trailing by three, 24-21, Marietta went on a 12-0 run to open a nine-point lead, 33-24, with 4:47 left in the opening period. Five different Pioneers hits shots during the run.
Lake Forest finished the first half with a 9-1 run of its own to close within a point, 34-33, at halftime. Espinosa triggered the run with a pair of jumpers.
After trading small leads throughout the second half, Richardson converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 2:15 left in the game to put the Pioneers in front, 75-74. Marietta would not relinquish its lead.
Two more free throws from Richardson pushed the margin to three, 77-74, with 41 seconds remaining. Espinosa hit a jumper 10 seconds later cutting the MC lead back to one, 77-76.
The Foresters were forced to foul and Dixon converted a pair of free throws with 16 seconds on the clock. On Lake Forest's ensuing possession, Marietta was whistled for a foul with nine seconds remaining. Arslanian made one of two free throws making it 79-77.
Lake Forest put Dixon back on the line and he made one of two giving Marietta a three-point lead, 80-77, and keeping it a one possession game. Sam Hustings last second three-pointer was off the mark giving MC the victory.
For the game, Marietta shot 43.1% (28-of-65) from the floor, 48.1% (13-of-27) from three-point range and 78.6% (11-of-14) at the line. The Foresters were 30-of-64 (46.9%) from the floor, 8-of-26 (30.8%) behind the arc and 9-of-15 (60.0%) at the free throw line.
Lake Forest dominated the glass outrebounding the Pioneers, 42-27. The Foresters committed 15 turnovers, while Marietta turned the ball over 10 times.
Marietta jumps back into Ohio Athletic Conference play on Saturday (Jan. 5) when the Pioneers travel to Tiffin for a 3 p.m. at Heidelberg University.