Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Monday, February 6, 2006
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MEN’S BASKETBALL HOLDS OFF DeSALES

This time the tipin missed.

Just two days after losing on a last-second tipin, the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team watched DeSales’ last-second attempt clink off the rim and out as the Mules held on for a 72-70 victory.

Junior Jeff Stewart collected 31 points, including the last seven
Chris Pothering
Junior Chris Pothering, seeing his first extended action after missing 15 games due to injury, hit two three-pointers in a 13-2 late first-half run that gave the Mules a seven-point lead.
of the game, to propel Muhlenberg (11-10) to victory. The 31 points were one short of a career high for Stewart, who also had game highs of 12 rebounds and five assists while battling one of the Freedom Conference’s top big men.

“They have some really good post players,” said Stewart, who finished with his 12th double-double of the season. “It was a very tough battle inside on both ends of the court. We made the right adjustments and I’m glad we came out on top.”

DeSales (14-7) hit a layup with 3:44 remaining in the game to take a 70-65 advantage. On Muhlenberg’s next possession, Stewart hit both ends of a one-and-one. With 1:58 remaining, Stewart corralled a rebound off a DeSales block and was fouled as he hit a diving layup. He completed the three-point play to knot the game at 70.

After the Bulldogs missed a free throw, Muhlenberg called a timeout. Junior Tom Scott threw the inbounds pass from the sideline to
Jeff Stewart
Stewart has three career 30-point games, two of them against DeSales. He is 11th in school history with 1,289 points, 14 away from the top 10.
Stewart, who turned to his left and nailed a jumper for the final basket of the game at 1:27.

The Bulldogs, who saw their nine-game non-conference winning streak come to an end, had two chances to tie the game in the final seconds. First, they missed a pair of foul shots with 15.2 seconds remaining. After the Mules missed the front end of a one-and-one, DeSales missed a layup and had a chance to tip it in, but this time, the ball fell Muhlenberg’s way as time expired.

“I got really nervous when I saw the ball get tipped up in the air,” said Stewart, who had fouled out prior to the last possession. “I just prayed that luck would go our way today and it worked.”

In what was a close game throughout, the Mules had their biggest lead, 52-42, with 13:16 remaining in the second half. After senior Jimmy O’Brien hit a three-pointer, freshman Chris MacIntosh intercepted a pass and pushed the ball forward to O’Brien. O’Brien found Stewart, who made the layup as he was fouled. The free throw put the Mules up 10.

Over the next eight minutes, DeSales put together a 24-7 run to take its largest lead of the night, 66-59, at 5:14. Scott hit a three and after a DeSales jumper, classmate Chris Huber recorded a three of his own to narrow the score to 68-65 with 3:54 left. The Bulldogs hit a jumper 10 seconds later, but those would be their last points of the night.

“When we were down seven, we called timeout and huddled together,” said Scott, who finished with 11 points and tied a career high with eight rebounds. “We said we would refuse to lose. If we could stay together and be patient, we were confident we could pull it out. This was a really good game for us coming off the heartbreaking [loss at F&M]. We needed to win a close game. We wanted a big win to get us ready to go back into conference play.”

The win also gave Muhlenberg Lehigh Valley bragging rights for the 2005-06 season, with victories against both Moravian and DeSales. The Mules hadn’t defeated both in the same season since 2000-01. Muhlenberg also knocked off both of its local rivals in women’s basketball.

Click here for box score.


Questions or comments? Send mail to falk@muhlenberg.edu
Last updated February 6, 2006