Thursday, February 15, 2007
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IN HOME FINALE
It was a perfect ending to a perfect ending.
The Muhlenberg mens basketball team, needing a win to keep its playoff hopes alive and give its seniors positive memories of their final home game, made all eight of its shots in overtime to defeat Dickinson, 91-84.
With one game remaining in the regular season, the Mules (9-14, 8-9) are in a three-way tie for the fifth and final Centennial Conference playoff
Senior Tom Scott and sophomore Mike Bernardini combined for 57 points, including all but two of the Mules 15 overtime markers. Scott scored 29 points, while Bernardini went 5-for-7 from three-point range to finish with a career-high 28.
Jimmie Riggins, another of the seven Muhlenberg seniors honored before the game, recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and hit the biggest shot, a three-pointer with 10.4 seconds left in regulation to tie the score.
In a crazy year that has seen the Mules follow up an eight-game losing streak with a four-game winning streak, the Red Devils (7-16, 5-12) lost despite shooting 76.2 percent from the field in the second half. Muhlenberg connected on 11 of 23 three-point tries and committed only nine turnovers.
The Mules started out slowly, making just two field goals in the first 10 minutes and falling behind, 16-6. They clawed back to tie the score at 20 on a running tipin by freshman Ryan Foster with 4:49 left in the half.
Muhlenberg held a one-point lead at halftime, but Dickinson used its hot shooting to open up an eight-point bulge with 8:21 to go. The deficit was six, 69-63, with less than four minutes to play, before sophomore Chris MacIntosh and Riggins hit back-to-back threes from the top of the key to tie the game.
The Devils again pulled ahead, but gave the Mules an opening by making only one of two free throws with a two-point lead and 19.7 seconds on the clock. Scott snagged the rebound and passed to MacIntosh, who found Riggins open on the right wing.
That was the play, said Riggins. If I was wide open I was supposed to shoot. Chris Huber set a great screen and I had all the time in the world. It felt right when it came off my hand.
Dickinson, which beat Muhlenberg with a last-second three last year, had 10 seconds to set up a winning shot, but mishandled the ball and could only manage a desperation shot from near halfcourt.
Scott outjumped the Devils 6-10 center to win the overtime jump, then gave the Mules the lead for good by scoring a layup off an inbounds pass from MacIntosh 21 seconds into the extra period.
Bernardinis three-pointer moments later made the score 81-76.
Scott answered a Dickinson layup with one of his own, then drew a charge at the other end. Bernardinis layup and an ensuing jumper by Riggins gave Muhlenberg a commanding nine-point lead with 1:30 left.
It was a fitting last home game for the 2006-07 Mules, who have played four overtime games. In their current four-game winning streak, two of the victories came on free throws in the closing seconds of regulation and a third in overtime, allowing the seniors to walk off the Memorial Hall floor to enthusiastic cheers.
Ill remember this one forever, said Huber.
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Last updated February 15, 2007