The Muhlenberg mens basketball team started playing its best
basketball just as the season was coming to a close, winning four of its
last five games to finish 12-13, 9-9 in the Centennial Conference.
The 12 wins were four more than the Mules had a year ago, but it was not
enough to get the team back in the CC playoffs for the first time in
three years. Muhlenberg had opportunities to be even better, but finished
1-7 in games decided by five points or fewer, including four such
losses to CC playoff teams.
Senior Chase Licata averaged 9.1 points per game, tied
for second best on the team.
In their final four wins of the 2004 season, the Mules won by an
average of 13.5 points. This stretch included an impressive 80-67
home victory over Franklin & Marshall, which entered the game with
only three conference losses.
Muhlenberg was led by sophomore Jeff Stewart, a second-team
All-Centennial Conference and third-team All-Middle-Atlantic
Region selection. Stewart led the CC in rebounding
(10.1 rebounds per game) and blocked shots (56) and was third in scoring
(19.4 points per game) and seventh in field-goal percentage (.529).
The first Mule to average a double-double since 1988, Stewart set a
Centennial Conference record with 16 double-doubles in 25 games and
scored in double figures 24 times, including 15 games of 20 points or
more. He also finished with 489 points on the season, fourth-best in
Borden had 92 assists, the most by a Mule in seven
Senior Donté Borden posted a school record
assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.24, and senior Ryan Bonda
connected on 27 three-pointers, giving him 116 three-point field
goals in his career, sixth-best on the Mules all-time list.
The loss of four graduating seniors will definitely hurt as the team
looks towards next season, but all the pieces seem to be in place for
Muhlenberg to continue its winning ways. Stewart will be back with
another year of experience and should again be one of the
conferences top players. What may determine how far the Mules go,
though, will be the players that surround Stewart. Sophomores
Jimmy OBrien (9.1 points per game in 2004), and Chris
Pothering (5.2 points per game) will be just two players that
will be expected to take on a much more prominent role for the Mules
as they try to return to the CC elite.