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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, February 2, 2008 - page 2

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men’s basketball hangs on for big win

The road hasn’t been kind to the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team this year, and even though the Mules posted a big win at McDaniel, the game was anything but kind.

Despite losing two of its players and one of its
Peter Barnes
Barnes is 16-of-22 (72.7 percent) from the field in the last four games.
fans down the stretch, Muhlenberg held off a furious charge and defeated the Green Terror for the second time this season, 61-57. The victory put the Mules (9-10, 7-5) into a three-way tie for third place in the Centennial Conference with McDaniel and Johns Hopkins.

Muhlenberg built a 23-point lead (41-18) with two minutes left in the first half, then had to sweat it out as the Green Terror (12-7, 7-5) cut the gap to three on three separate occasions.

“We started the game off strong, but what was more important was that we finished strong,” said junior Ryan Foster, who tied for the team lead with 11 points and pulled down a team-best eight rebounds. “We held up and had some crucial defensive stops.”

The Mules shot 61.5 percent from the field in the first half, including 5-of-8 from three-point range. But McDaniel turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, forcing 15 Muhlenberg turnovers while committing just one in the final 20 minutes.

The margin got to single digits for the first time with 8:43 left, when a three-pointer made it 50-41. The three kicked off a 9-0 run that made the score 50-47, and the Green Terror had a possession with a chance to tie but missed a jumper.

McDaniel closed to within three for the last time at 54-51 with 3:24 remaining. The Mules made seven of 10 free throws, including four straight by junior Darrell Roth, the rest of the way while holding the Green Terror to one field goal until a meaningless three-pointer in the last few seconds.

Differential at the foul line contributed heavily to the comeback. Muhlenberg was whistled for 16 second-half fouls and had two players foul out in the last seven minutes. With less than four minutes left, one of the Mules’ fans was ejected for protesting the calls too vigorously.

McDaniel failed to capitalize on its free throws, however, making just 16 of 33.

“The officiating didn’t bother us,” said Foster. “Winning in a hostile environment is a big step. We showed maturity as a team, which we didn’t do at the beginning of the season.

Muhlenberg had lost six straight road games before this one but has enjoyed great success at McDaniel, winning seven of its last 10 at the Gill Center.

“Winning is contagious,” said Foster, asked if the Mules’ road fortunes may be changing. Noting a three-point loss at Franklin & Marshall and triple-overtime loss at Johns Hopkins, he added, “Our record looks a lot different on paper than if you were at the games.”

Sophomore Peter Barnes scored a career-high 11 points, his third straight game in double figures. Junior Mike Bernardini also scored 11, and sophomore Obi Nwizugbo added 10. Muhlenberg held McDaniel to 31.1-percent shooting and owned a 48-30 rebounding advantage.
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