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No. 14 Thomas More posts 64-61 win at No. 3 Marian (Ind.) in battle of nationally ranked NAIA teams

NKyTribune staff

Briana McNutt scored 15 of her 21 points in the first half as No. 14 Thomas More pulled out a 64-61 road win over No. 3 Marian (Ind.) on Sunday in a battle of nationally ranked NAIA teams.

Zoie Barth added 14 points and made four free throws in the final 15 seconds for Thomas More, which remained unbeaten (4-0) and defeated a nationally ranked opponent for the second time this season. The Saints also posted an 85-47 victory against No. 7 Southeastern (Fla.) on Nov. 5.

Senior guard Briana McNutt scored 21 points as Thomas More improved to 4-0. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

Barth hit a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left to give Thomas More a 62-61 lead. Marian’s Abby Downard was called for an offensive foul with seven seconds remaining, and Barth extended Thomas More’s advantage to 64-61 by making two more free throws.

McNutt iced the win for Thomas More by stealing the ball from Jayla Wehner with a second remaining at midcourt. The Saints senior guard finished with nine rebounds and drained four 3-pointers in five attempts.

McNutt scored 10 points in the first quarter as Thomas More built a 17-9 lead. McNutt buried a pair of 3-pointers to key the Saints in the opening 10 minutes.

Freshman guard Maggie Jones scored eight points in the first half, making all four of her attempts from the field. Thomas More held Marian to 27.6 percent shooting from the field in the first half and owned a 32-17 lead at the break.

Marian rallied in the fourth quarter and eventually took a 61-60 lead when Macy Willoughby made two free throws with 30 seconds remaining in the game. That set the stage for Barth, whose two free throws gave the Saints a lead they would not relinquish.

Thomas More finished with a 35-31 advantage in rebounds and converted 13 of 16 free throws. The Saints shot 44 percent from the field and held Marian to 41.4 percent shooting.

Thomas More begins Mid-South Conference play this Thursday when Martin Methodist visits Crestview Hills. The opening tip is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Connor Convocation Center.

(Information compiled from Thomas More, Marian and staff reports)

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