Men's Basketball Closes Out 2011 with Win

Sunday, December 18, 2011
 

Spencer Liddic
Liddic scored 18 of his points in the first half en route to reaching the 30-point mark for the third time in his career.
After spending the week studying for finals, the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team only had two practices to prepare for Drew’s cutting Princeton-style offense.

The Rangers used that advantage to grab the lead at the half. But the Mules were able to adjust and made the grade in the second half.

Led by 30 points from senior Spencer Liddic, Muhlenberg grabbed an early holiday present with an 83-78 win in their final game of 2011. The win moves the Mules to 8-2, which is their best start since the 1968-69 season.

“It was a little tough in the first half, especially because of their style,” junior Hunter Forsman said. “We didn’t have much time to prepare, and I think that hurt us early. But Spencer gave a good talk during halftime, and that fired us up and got us playing up to our level.”

The Rangers used some hot shooting to take a two-point advantage into break and continued on that hot streak as they extended their lead to seven midway through the second half.

That’s when Muhlenberg’s pressure defense started to get Drew out of rhythm, and the Mules seized the momentum.

After Forsman cut the lead to five with a jumper, freshman Gabriel Mercer grabbed a steal and fed Liddic, who drew a double team and hit a cutting Forsman for an emphatic dunk to make it a three-point game.

Muhlenberg forced the Rangers (2-8) into a shot clock violation, and then sophomore Austin Curry hit a jumper in the paint to make it 60-59.

The Mules finally went ahead for good when Mercer turned a Ranger turnover into an acrobatic scoop layup plus a foul at the 6:14 mark. He missed the ensuing free throw, but grabbed the offenseive rebound, drew another foul and hit both shots.

Muhlenberg added four more foul shots to complete a 14-0 run and take control. The Mules shot 10-of-12 from the charity stripe the rest of the way to close out the win.

“They were hitting a lot of shots early and getting some good looks,” said Forsman, who hauled in a career-high nine rebounds to go with five points. “We wanted to pressure them so they couldn’t just get into their offense. Once we got a few turnovers, we grabbed the momentum and took off.”

Freshman Malique Killing hit three 3-pointers to reach the 20-point mark for the third time this season, and Curry and Mercer added 11 points each.

It’s the third straight time, and sixth time this season, that the Mules have scored at least 80 points. Last year, the Mules hit the 80-point mark just four times all season.

Liddic tied Forsman with nine boards, and freshman AJ Dean dished out three assists and grabbed three of the team’s nine steals as the Mules head into winter break with a two-game winning streak.

“It feels so good to go into break with a win,” Forsman said. “It feels so much better than last year, and now we just need to stay focused and keep playing well when we get back.”
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.