Spen-sanity! Liddic, Killing Lead Men's Basketball to Second Seed

Saturday, February 18, 2012
 

Women’s basketball Wrestling

The last game of the regular season for the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team featured more Spen-sanity.

Senior Spencer Liddic’s scoring, rebounding, passing and hustle paced the Mules to a 77-71 win at Ursinus – their seventh victory in eight games.

The win gave the Mules a first-round playoff bye and, combined with Dickinson’s 63-53 loss to Franklin & Marshall, the second seed

Gabriel Mercer
Mercer hit back-to-back threes in the second half to help the Mules build their lead to 13.
in the playoffs. Muhlenberg (17-8, 11-7) will travel to Franklin & Marshall to face Dickinson in a semifinal game on Friday. A loss would have dropped the Mules to the fourth seed and forced them to play a first-round game on Wednesday.

Liddic finished with 18 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for his Centennial Conference-record 44th career double-double. Malique Killing added a game-high 27 points to break the school freshman scoring record as Muhlenberg came back from a five-point halftime deficit.

“We just wanted to win this game, simple as that,” said freshman Gabriel Mercer. “We knew this would make it easier for the playoff run we’re about to go on.”

The Mules went on a scoring run early in the second half to seize control of a game in which they trailed by as many as seven points in the first half. With the score tied at 40, Killing made a fastbreak layup and was fouled to give Muhlenberg a 43-40 lead. After the Bears (9-16, 8-10) hit a three to tie it back up, sophomore Austin Curry drained a three after two offensive rebounds by Liddic, and Killing followed with another three-pointer.

Killing picked up an errant Ursinus pass and made another layup on the break to make it 51-43 with 12:50 left.

“One of the keys to our offense is transition,” said Mercer. “We have so many weapons

Malique Killing
In addition to his 27 points, Killing dished out a game-high four assists and had two steals.
in the open floor, especially with Spencer rebounding to give us extra chances. The big focus today was on rebounding the ball so we could run.”

Liddic showed that, in addition to rebounding, he has other ways of giving his team extra possessions. Muhlenberg led 53-45 when Liddic dove for a loose ball and kicked it out while lying on the floor, preventing a turnover. He got the ball back later in the possession and was fouled. After he made the first free throw, officials noticed blood on one of his knuckles, so he had to come to the bench to get it treated.

The resulting delay halted the Mules’ momentum, and Ursinus went on a 7-0 run to draw within two. But Liddic came back to the floor to feed junior Hunter Forsman for his second dunk of the game, kicking off an answering 7-0 run for Muhlenberg.

The game was the sixth this season in which the Mules overcame a halftime deficit to win. They shot 7-for-13 from three-point range in the second half, with Curry going 3-for-5 and Killing and Mercer both 2-for-3.

Killing’s 27 points gave him 427 for the season, surpassing the freshman record of 419 set by all-time scoring leader Bob McClure in 1967-68.

With his 14 rebounds, Liddic increased his career total to 992, passing McClure for second on the Muhlenberg all-time list and moving to within eight of 1,000. He also overtook McClure and moved into third place at Muhlenberg with 594 career field goals, and his 18 points pushed him into eighth on the CC all-time scoring list.

“Spencer is just a great role model for all of us,” said Mercer. “He has that All-American boy feel about him, and it’s not just an image. He’s very modest and humble about it, and at the end of the day he’s just one of the guys.”
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.