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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, February 14, 2009

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Women’s basketball Wrestling

foster leads men’s basketball
to comeback win

Needing a win to stay in front of its challengers in the Centennial Conference playoff chase, the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team put its game into Foster care.

Junior Ryan Foster made three big plays, two offensive and one defensive, in the final
Obi Nwizugbo
With the Mules down 46-34, junior Obi Nwizugbo started a 15-3 run with a three-point play and capped it with a game-tying free throw.
64 seconds as the Mules came from behind to win at Johns Hopkins, 60-58. The victory completed Muhlenberg’s first-ever season sweep of the Blue Jays, who entered the 2008-09 season with a 12-game series winning streak.

With a week to go in the regular season, the Mules (14-9, 10-6) find themselves in sole possession of third place in the CC, thanks to Gettysburg’s stunning loss at previously winless Swarthmore. Muhlenberg needs to win one of its last two games to clinch a playoff berth.

The Mules trailed Hopkins (12-11, 7-9) by 12 points early in the
CC Standings CC All
Franklin & Marshall 14-2 21-2
McDaniel 12-4 17-6
Muhlenberg 10-6 14-9
Gettysburg 9-7 14-8
Haverford 8-8 11-11
Washington 8-8 11-12
Johns Hopkins 7-9 12-11
Ursinus 6-10 10-13
Dickinson 5-11 11-11
Swarthmore 1-15 2-20
second half, but came back to take their first lead of the game on Foster’s 100th career three-pointer with 4:54 left. The Blue Jays scored the next five points, however, to take a 58-54 lead.

With 1:04 left, Foster drilled a three-pointer to cut the margin to one. Hopkins turned the ball over on an inbounds play at the other end of the court. Taking over with 28 seconds left, Muhlenberg could have held for the last shot, but Foster popped a three with 19 seconds left for a 60-58 lead.

“We had a play where Pete (Barnes) rolled down and I replaced him [at the top of the arc],” said Foster. “We thought if Pete rolled my man might help down on him. He left me for a second. I saw the opening, and I was feeling pretty good about the last one, so I shot it and luckily in went in.”

It did go in, but it left Hopkins plenty of time to try to tie or win with a three. The Blue Jays called timeout with 13 seconds left to set up a play, but a jumper from the wing was blocked by Foster. The Mules rebounded and ran out the clock.

From the time of the biggest deficit, 46-34 less than five minutes into the second half, Muhlenberg held Johns Hopkins to three field goals. Meanwhile, Barnes began to assert himself in the post, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the second half.

“They were hitting some hard shots and we were missing some easy ones. I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn in the first half,” said Foster, who was 1-for-10 before his three late threes. “We knew if we kept it up they’d start to fall. The whole team banded together and got it done.”

Foster was one of four Mules to finish with 12 points, and he also pulled down 12 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. In addition to Barnes, senior Mike Bernardini and sophomore Evan Tozer also scored 12, with Bernardini scoring 10 straight Muhlenberg points in one first-half stretch.

The Mules have now won four straight CC road games and six of their last seven in the CC overall. Their 10 CC wins tie a school record, achieved previously in both 1998 and 2002.

“The key is that we play hard,” said Foster. “We have a great defensive mentality – we never want anyone to score on us. The defense keeps us going when the offense isn’t there.”

Muhlenberg has held its last five opponents under 60 points, something it had never done in the shot-clock era.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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