LAFAYETTE, Ind. —
But Bowen fouled out a few moments later, with 1:50 to play, and the uprising was quelled.
"Liberty Christian was an incredible opponent," Marquette Catholic coach Donovan Garletts said "They have really strong guard play, and they have a ton of heart. Those guys deserve everything they got this year as far as their successes. We're proud to be able to say we beat a really good team."
The teams traded punches throughout an entertaining first half that saw eight ties and four lead changes. Lions sophomore Franklin Nunn scored 12 of his game-high 20 points before intermission, and Liberty Christian outrebounded the Blazers 23-18. Nunn also finished with a game-high seven boards.
But Marquette Catholic used its size and bulk in the paint to wear down the Lions in the second half.
The Blazers pulled down 12 of their 21 offensive rebounds after the break, extending possessions and applying extra pressure to the Liberty Christian defense. The Lions did a good job against 6-foot-8 junior Ryan Fazekas — Marquette Catholic's star scorer who has verbally committed to Providence — limiting him to 5-of-17 shooting from the floor.
But Fazekas made the most of his trips to the free-throw line — making all five of his attempts — and tied Richard Mitchell for team-high honors with 15 points. Mitchell also was outstanding from the charity stripe, sinking his first eight attempts and finishing 9-for-11 overall.
The Blazers made 21 of 26 free throws as a team, including 11 of 15 in the final quarter to allow them to maintain their margin down the stretch.
Both teams made 24 field goals overall, and Liberty Christian had the edge in 3-pointers 4-3. But the Lions were outrebounded 45-41 and had six shots blocked.
"I think we left it all out there," said junior Chris Nunn, who finished with 11 points, three assists and two steals. "I look at this game as something to make us work that much harder in the offseason."