Liddic Ties Record as Men's Basketball Picks Up CC Win

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
 

Sophomore Austin Curry and senior Spencer Liddic were the last two players to leave the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team’s locker room after its game at Swarthmore.

While the two were smiling and joking, they also appeared tired. But for good reason: They worked extra hard on both ends of the floor to help lead the Mules to a 79-56 win. It was the third straight win for the Mules and gave them a 6-1 start for the first time in 23 years.

Liddic did most of the dirty work on the glass, hauling in 21 boards to tie the Centennial

Gabriel Mercer
Freshman Gabriel Mercer scored 8 points in 22 minutes off the bench.
Conference record for rebounds in a game. His previous career high of 19 was also set against Swarthmore in 2010.

While Liddic was giving the Mules extra offensive opportunities, Curry was taking advantage, scoring a team-high 17 points. But it was his performance on the other end that stole the show as he held the conference’s leading scorer, who came in averaging 26.5 points per game against Division III opponents, to just 10 on the night.

But Curry did not take much credit for the effort, because after all, he said, all he had to do was run.

“From the stands, it might look like I have a hard job, but it’s actually the easiest one on the court,” Curry said. “All I had to do was follow him around; everyone else had to guard their guys and also help me out. Our big guys inside did a good job of helping me when he got into the paint, so it was a total defensive effort.”

While that defensive effort stymied the Garnet (0-6, 0-2), holding it to less than 30 percent shooting for the game, the Mules (6-1, 1-1) held a seven-point lead at the break, and then used a 15-4 run in the opening five minutes of the second half to take control.

Freshman Malique Killing got it started right away, stealing Swarthmore’s inbounds pass to open the half and converting it into an easy layup just five seconds in.

Austin Curry
Curry scored four points in an 11-0 run that gave the Mules a quick 11-2 lead at the start of the game.
Classmate AJ Dean ended the run with a midrange jumper from the baseline to stretch the lead to 18 and force a Garnet timeout.

From there, Muhlenberg cruised, not allowing Swarthmore to get any closer than 14 points the rest of the way.

“We felt like we were the better team, but we didn’t play like it in the first half,” Curry said. “So in the locker room we talked about coming out in the second half and playing our game. We knocked down some early shots, and that got us going.”

Hargrove finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks for his first double-double of the season. Dean just missed one of his own with 12 points and 9 boards, while Killing finished with 13 points.

Muhlenberg held a plus-20 advantage on the glass to grab its seventh straight victory over Swarthmore. The Mules have also won 14 of the last 15 meetings.

They have held their last three opponents to 60 points or less, and have had six different players reach double figures during that time. And according to Curry, that balance is something that the team will need as it gets into the heart of conference play.

“I think we are getting better every day,” Curry said. “We’ve really turned up our defensive pressure, and we have a lot of guys that can score. This is a tough conference; every night is a battle. So it felt good to get our first conference win, and hopefully we can keep it up.”
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