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Thursday, January 13, 2011

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Women’s basketball

liddic scores 1,000th in
men’s basketball upset win

Spencer Liddic was hard to deny on the court during the game, and his logic was undeniable off the court after the game.

“Coming into this game I was 0-6 against F&M,” said the standout junior forward on the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team. “I knew I had plenty of opportunities to get my 1,000th point, but I really wanted this win vs. F&M.”

Liddic got the best of both worlds, becoming the 32nd
Spencer Liddic
In addition to his 21 points, Liddic led the Mules with 8 rebounds.
player in team history to reach the 1,000-point milestone and helping the Mules to a 71-67 win against the 19th-ranked Diplomats.

The win was the third in a row for the Mules (8-6, 4-3), who have made their recent five-game losing streak seem like a distant memory and are just a game out of first place in the suddenly congested Centennial Conference.

Just like the Muhlenberg teams of the 1990s that scored four wins against nationally ranked F&M teams at Memorial Hall, these Mules were not phased by the Diplomats’ ranking or recent NCAA Tournament runs (to the semifinals in 2009 and the quarterfinals last year).

“It was more motivation for us because of their high ranking and their history,” said sophomore Rob Berish, who scored a career-high 12 points. “Nobody had trouble getting up for this game.”

The Diplomats (10-4, 5-2) led for the entire first half, but Muhlenberg kept it close, never
Rob Berish
Berish scored 8 of his 12 points in the second half and also contributed an impressive blocked shot to stop an F&M fast break.
falling behind by more than eight points. Liddic’s three-point play off an offensive rebound in the final minute sent the Mules into the locker room down by four, 39-35.

Muhlenberg tied the score at 41 on one of freshman Austin Curry’s five three-pointers and took its first lead (49-48) when Liddic received an inbounds pass from Matt O’Hara, turned right and banked in a layup with 12:53 left on the clock. That play not only gave the Mules the lead, but it also gave Liddic his milestone.

“I couldn’t have scripted it any better,” said Liddic, who came in needing 14 points and finished with 21.

The teams traded baskets back and forth until the decisive run began with, of all things, an airballed three by Liddic. Senior Evan Tozer chased down the rebound in the corner and passed the ball out, then took a return pass and buried a three-pointer to put Muhlenberg up 61-59 with 5:18 left.

After an F&M miss, Curry hit a three in transition, and then he leaped to steal an inbounds pass and fed Tozer for a layup, capping an 8-0 run that gave the Mules a 66-59 edge.

The Diplomats got to within three on a pair of free throws with 1:58 left, but Curry went 5-for-6 from the line over the next 1:16 to keep the lead safe.

Curry finished with a game-high 22 points, going 5-for-8 from three-point range. He, Tozer and Berish combined to shoot 9-of-12 from long distance.

Muhlenberg did an outstanding job on defense, holding the Diplomats, who were shooting nearly 50 percent from the field coming in, to 39.7 percent, including 32.3 percent in the second half. Freshman Kevin Hargrove blocked four shots and altered many others around the basket.

The Mules’ primary ball-handlers – Curry, O’Hara and Justin Greenstone also played a crucial role in the win, as the team turned the ball over just three times in the second half.

But the night belonged to Liddic, who finished his high school career about 40 points short of 1,000. He is the first Mule to reach the 1,000-point mark since the 2005-06 season, and the 12th to do it in three seasons.

“He’s worked very hard to accomplish a feat like that, and he really deserves it,” said Berish.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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