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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

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men’s basketball back on winning track

Darrell Roth
Roth scored a career-high 20 points and is averaging 16.8 points per game since breaking into the starting lineup.
In his two years at Muhlenberg, it’s been pretty rare for Peter Barnes to go up against a taller opponent. But he had to in the Dickinson game, and now things are looking up for the entire Mule men’s basketball team.

Barnes scored eight points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds as Muhlenberg rebounded from three straight road losses to defeat the Red Devils, 67-62, in its first home game in two weeks. The win left the Mules (7-9, 5-4) in a three-way tie for fourth place at the halfway point of the Centennial Conference season.

“This was a huge win,” said Barnes. “It wasn’t like our morale was down; [the losses] were close games. We’ve been battling hard and to finally get a win under our belts – it was a good atmosphere in the locker room postgame. Basketball is a fun sport when you win.”

The 6-9 Barnes had some fun guarding Dickinson’s 6-10 center Tom Leszczynski, who came in as the leading rebounder and sixth-leading scorer in the CC. Although Leszczynski scored 17 points, one above his average, it came on 5-of-20 shooting, mostly jump shots.

“We had to front him a lot, and as long as the guards put pressure on the backcourt and we had help-side defense, he couldn’t get the ball in the low post,” remarked Barnes.

Barnes also contributed with his offense at a critical part of the game. Muhlenberg jumped out to a 19-7 lead midway through the first half, but the Devils (8-7, 4-5) cut the gap to two by halftime and tied the score at 38 with 15:50 left in the second half.

The Mules reeled off the next seven points, but again Dickinson came back, taking its only lead of the game at 49-48 with 9:11 remaining.

Muhlenberg responded with a 10-0 run to finally put the game out of reach. Junior Darrell Roth had a part in all 10 points – he kicked off the surge with a three-pointer, then made two free throws and assisted on a three-pointer by junior Mike Bernardini and a layup by Barnes.

The run gave the Mules a 58-49 edge with 6:23 left, and Dickinson never got closer than five points the rest of the way.

Bernardini finished with 16 points, all in the second half, and helped Muhlenberg put the game away by making five free throws in the last 25 seconds. Sophomore Obi Nwizugbo scored 13 points and pulled down seven rebounds, including three big defensive boards down the stretch.
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