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Saturday, January 22, 2011

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Women’s basketball Track & field, wrestling

dunks, record and lots of points
highlight men’s basketball birthday win

Spencer Liddic
Liddic's previous career high was 32 against Gallaudet earlier this season. Click on the photo to see video of his three dunks.
It may have been Kevin O’Hara’s birthday, but it was the fans of the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team who got the most presents.

Those on hand for the Mules’ 82-60 win against Washington got to witness a scoring performance not seen at Memorial Hall in 16 years, a school and Centennial Conference record tied and a dunking exhibition.

And best of all, they watched the Mules (9-8, 5-5) pick up a much-needed win
Matt O'Hara
Matt O'Hara, whose older brother was serenaded with "Happy Birthday" several times during the game, assisted on a three-pointer and made a baseline jumper during the early 13-0 run.
against a team that had beaten them earlier in the season.

Junior Spencer Liddic, honored before the game for scoring his 1,000th career point last week, made like he was working on getting to his second thousand, pouring in a career-high 35 points to go along with 14 rebounds. The 35 points were the most by a Muhlenberg player since Tom Scott scored 35 against Washington in the 2003-04 season and the most by a Mule at home since Mike Gramer went for 40 against Ursinus in the 1994-95 campaign.

Kevin Hargrove added a double-double of his own (the second of his career) with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He also blocked two shots to tie the school and CC record of 46 blocks by a freshman, set by Jim Doumato in 1995-96.

Freshman Austin Curry added 11 points, and senior Evan Tozer had 9 points and a career-high 7 assists.

It all added up to a comfortable 22-point win for a team whose previous four games were decided by 6, 4, 7 and 1 points.

“It’s always good to get a win like that,” said sophomore Matt O’Hara, who started and contributed 4 points and 5 assists. “We talked at halftime about blowing open the lead we had. They came out and made a run, but we handled their pressure and put them away.”

Muhlenberg used an early 13-0 run to take a 16-4 lead and held a 35-17 advantage with 3:32 left in the first half. But the Shoremen (5-12, 4-6) scored the last seven points of the first half and the first five of the second to cut the spread to six.

That was as close as they would get. The Mules held Washington to two field goals over a nine-minute span, going on a 22-4 run to open up a 60-36 lead with less than eight minutes to play.

“A team like Washington is going to make runs because of their pressure,” said Matt O’Hara. “We
Evan Tozer
Tozer hit a pair of threes in the first half.
stuck together and played as a team. We had 24 assists [on 30 field goals], which shows how unselfish we were.”

Despite the big deficit, the Shoremen put on an aggressive press in a last-ditch attempt to get back in the game. Although Washington ran off seven quick points, two off turnovers, Muhlenberg ultimately finished off the game by finishing against the press. Three times in a span of two minutes, Liddic dunked on the back end of the press break.

“As a point guard, there’s nothing better for me personally,” said junior Justin Greenstone, who assisted on the last dunk. “It’s pure joy for me to see Spence dunk and watch the crowd get into it.

“It was great execution all the way through. We ran our press break to perfection, and our spacing was great. My teammates made it easy for me.”

Thanks to Liddic’s three very-high-percentage shots, Muhlenberg shot 52.6 percent from the field for the game and scored a season high in points. Equally impressive was the Mules’ defensive effort, holding Washington to 31.3 percent from the field.

Central to that defensive effort was Hargrove, who is well within striking distance of the school record of 58 blocked shots in a season.

“He’s just a monster. It’s been incredible to see his growth,” said Matt O’Hara. “It’s very comforting playing defense knowing he’s back there to clean up your mess. If he’s doing this as a freshman, I don’t know what he’ll do the rest of his career.”

Notes: Muhlenberg remained in sixth place in the CC but is just a game behind the three teams (McDaniel, Dickinson and Haverford) tied for third ... Washington is 0-18 at Memorial Hall since the start of CC play. The home teams has won 33 of the last 37 games in this series.
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