Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Saturday, February 17, 2007
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MEN’S BASKETBALL QUALIFIES FOR CC TOURNEY

They did it again.

For the second year in a row, the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team knocked off Ursinus in its final regular-season game – this time by a score of 76-68 – and clinched a spot in the Centennial Conference playoffs. The win, combined with a McDaniel loss, puts the Mules in the fifth seed. The win is also the Mules’ fifth in a row.

Mike Bernardini
With 3:59 left in the game, Bernardini recorded his first blocked shot of the season to preserve a two-point Muhlenberg lead.
Muhlenberg (10-14, 9-9) led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but Ursinus chipped away and made it close down the stretch. With the Mules up 70-60 with 3:50 to go, the Bears scored five unanswered points in the next 36 seconds to cut the margin to five.

Neither team scored again until Ursinus (16-9, 13-5) drilled a three with 25 seconds left to cut Muhlenberg’s lead to just two, 70-68. The Mules didn’t panic.

“We still had the lead, and we were about to get the ball back,” said senior Chris Huber. “We figured we were going to go to the line, so we just had to hit the free throws to seal the game.”

The Bears did foul Mules down the stretch, and the Mules made all six of their free throws in the final 24 seconds to pull out the victory.

“We were really confident coming into this game,” Huber said. “We had won four games straight, and we had a lot of momentum coming in. We knew if we did the little things we would be able to come out with the W, and we did.”

The game stayed close for most of the first half, but the Mules started to pull away as halftime neared. Muhlenberg took its largest lead of the first period, 41-30, on a layup by senior Brandon Mefford and then went into the locker room up by nine, 41-32, after two Ursinus free throws.

The Mules played well on both ends of the floor. On the offensive end, they shot nearly 43 percent from behind the arc, including 5-of-7 from senior Tom Scott. On the defensive end, the Mules combined to take four charges - two by Scott, one by senior Christopher Strachan and one by freshman Ryan Foster.

Scott led four Muhlenberg players in double figures and finished the game with 25 points to go along with seven rebounds and three steals. Huber added 13 points. Mefford missed tying his career high in scoring by one point, finishing with 10. He added four assists and two steals. Sophomore Mike Bernardini also scored 10 for the Mules.

“We really come together as a team and everyone has a role, and everyone knows their role,” Scott said. “Right now we’re all playing together and we’re all having fun, which is the most important part.”

Muhlenberg will have some more fun when the team travels to Gettysburg - the No. 4 seed - for the conference tournament first-round game on Wednesday. The winner of that game will then travel to Johns Hopkins on Saturday. Johns Hopkins sits atop the Centennial Conference and is ranked nationally at No. 24.

“We know that it’s whole new season now,” Scott said. “Everyone is all pumped up, and we feel like we can’t lose to anyone right now.”

Click here for box score.


Questions or comments? Send mail to falk@muhlenberg.edu
Last updated February 17, 2007