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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

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men’s basketball hits “home” run

Memorial Hall is Muhlenberg’s fortress when it comes to Centennial Conference games.

The Mule men’s basketball team
Tim Murray
Junior Tim Murray, who came into the game 3-for-19 from the foul line, made all four of his free throws, including both ends of a one-and-one with 5:10 left after the Fords had scored five straight points to cut the margin to seven.
recorded its sixth consecutive win at home in CC play, defeating Haverford, 75-67, in a clash featuring the best two defensive teams in the league.

However, the victory didn’t come easily despite a stunning first-half performance by Muhlenberg.

The Mules kept the Fords scoreless for almost 10 minutes during the first period. Sophomore Obi Nwizugbo ignited a 20-0 run with a successful free throw attempt four minutes into the game, making the score 9-8 Haverford. The Mules tightened up their defense in the next 9:45 and established a 27-9 lead.

For the second straight game after opening a comfortable cushion in the first half, the Mules started off slow the second half, allowing their opponents to threaten their lead.

“Teams in our league never quit,” sophomore Brian Frankoski said.

The Fords came within four points, 60-56, with little over three minutes left in the game. Juniors Darrell Roth and Mike Bernardini helped Muhlenberg keep its perfect home record intact, knocking down 10 free throws over the last minute and a half.

Bernardini put up 20 points for the Mules, converting nine of 10 free throw attempts on the night. Roth was flawless from the line in the waning seconds, going 4-for-4 and thwarting Haverford’s hopes for a comeback.

“We have a good overall defense, which always keeps in the game,” said Frankoski, who finished with six points, five rebounds and three steals. “Tonight our big size advantage helped us in the end.”

Besides Bernardini, two more players scored in double figures for Muhlenberg – Roth (13) and sophomore Peter Barnes (a career-high 15) – against a Ford team that came in tied for 20th in Division III in scoring defense (61.7 points per game). Bernardini pulled down four rebounds and dished out five assists. Sophomore Ryan Foster grabbed team high seven rebounds and added seven points for the Mules, who remained tied for third place in the CC with McDaniel and Johns Hopkins.

Muhlenberg (10-10, 8-5) continued its history of successful showings against Haverford (5-14, 3-10), improving to 41-12 in the all-time series. The Mules also avenged their 50-42 road loss to the Fords in the first conference game of the season on Nov. 28.

Muhlenberg will try to retain its undefeated status at home on Saturday, when it faces second-placed Gettysburg in an encounter which is of crucial importance to the distribution of the CC playoff berths.

“When we play at home, we expect to win every time,” Frankoski said. “We definitely have the ability to take out the top teams in our conference.”
Click here for box score.

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