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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, February 7, 2009

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Wrestling, track and field

men’s hoops scores second big road win

Live and learn. Or is it learn and live?

Taking lessons from earlier losses this season, the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team completed a highly successful week
Mike Bernardini
Bernardini finished with a season-high 10 points, becoming the 10th different Mule to hit double figures this year. He was a perfect 15-for-15 from the line in the wins against Haverford and Gettysburg.
with a 62-58 win at Gettysburg. It was the Mules’ second close road win in four days against a Centennial Conference playoff contender, coming on the heels of Wednesday’s 53-50 victory at Haverford.

As a result, Muhlenberg’s playoff chances are looking better and better. With two weeks to go in the regular season, the Mules (12-8, 8-6) are in sole possession of fourth place in the CC.

After losing three home games to the top teams in the standings by a total of five points (including a 51-49 loss to Gettysburg), the Mules have won two squeakers in a row, making the plays down the stretch both times.

“With those three close losses at home we learned what we needed to do to win those games, and it showed today,” said junior Peter Barnes, who had a monster game with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

One of the things Muhlenberg learned would be important was to hustle after loose balls, and no one epitomized that more against the Bullets than junior Zachary Rosenberg.

The Mules led by eight points midway through the second half, but Gettysburg (14-6, 9-5) rallied to tie the score with an 8-0 run, and neither team led by more than four the rest of the way.

With the score tied at 54, Barnes hit a turnaround bank shot in the lane with 1:31 left to put Muhlenberg ahead for good.

The Mules were still clinging to a two-point lead, 60-58 with 21.7 seconds left, when junior Ryan Foster – who had a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds – missed a pair of free throws. But Rosenberg, the only Muhlenberg player lined up to rebound, ran down the second one in the corner and was fouled.

Rosenberg missed both of his free throws, but hustled in after the second shot and ripped the ball out of the hands of a Bullet player under the basket. The ball eventually wound up in the hands of senior Mike Bernardini, who made both of his free throws with 12 ticks on the clock to provide the final margin.

“They were unbelievable,” said Barnes of Rosenberg’s rebounds. “Just pure effort on his part.”

Muhlenberg’s overall effort on defense held Gettysburg to 31.1-percent shooting, and the Mules owned the boards, 47-30. The Bullets, who came in ranked eighth in the Middle Atlantic Region, had their streak of 30 straight wins when leading at halftime snapped by a team that is showing not only that it knows how to win close games, but also how to win on the road.

“Everyone’s been coming into practice with the mentality that if we want to win the Centennial Conference championship, we’re going to have to start winning on the road,” noted Barnes. “We come out with a lot more intensity.”

Muhlenerg is now 4-3 on the road in CC games after winning only two road games all last season.
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