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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

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Men Drop to Third

The Muhlenberg men’s basketball team dropped its second straight game against a likely playoff team, losing 82-63 to Ursinus.

The loss, coupled with Washington’s fourth straight victory, dropped the Mules (8-7, 6-3) into a three-way tie for third place with the Shoremen (8-5, 6-3) and the Bears (10-6, 6-3). Muhlenberg split with Washington and will close the regular season at Ursinus.

In this game the Mules jumped out to an early five-point lead on a jumper by sophomore Spencer Liddic. They led by four seven minutes into the first half when Ursinus went on a 13-2 run to pull ahead by seven.

A 10-3 Mule run tied things up again, but the Bears were back up by seven with six seconds left after a three-point play. Sophomore Justin Greenstone found freshman Hunter Forsman for a layup as time expired, cutting the halftime deficit to five.

A Liddic jumper brought Muhlenberg to within one, 56-55, early in the second period, but the Bears once again went on a big run, this time 13-3, to go up double digits. The Mules were as close as 73-63 at the 4:23 mark before Ursinus put the game away.

Liddic led Muhlenberg with 20 points and nine rebounds. Senior Ryan Foster added 19 points and eight boards.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

Exactly one minute into the second half of the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team’s game, Ursinus found a ... rare way to regain possession.

A Bear missed a free throw with a chance to complete a three-point play, only nobody moved. After a few seconds of stillness, the refs blew the whistle and awarded the ball to Ursinus under the basket.

“We had no idea what was going on,” said junior Alexandra Berlin. “I still don’t understand what happened.”

As it turned out, the extra possession didn’t matter. Shortly thereafter the Mules took a tie game and turned it into a blowout, outscoring Ursinus 32-8 to end the game en route to a 71-47 victory.

A much closer game also impacted Muhlenberg (12-2, 9-1) tremendously. McDaniel handed No. 24 Gettysburg its second loss (51-48), dropping the Bullets into a tie for second place with the Green Terror and vaulting the Mules back into sole possession of first place in the Centennial Conference.

Alexandra Berlin
Berlin drives to the hoop for one of her three layups.
The bizarre play on the free throw came just as Ursinus (7-8, 5-6) was beginning to roar back into the game. A 12-4 Bear run to open the second half tied the score at 37-37, but, after the teams traded two more buckets, a jumper by junior Sheila Cook sparked a 16-3 run.

Sophomore Alexandra Chili found a cutting Berlin twice during the run for easy layups, and junior Kelly McKeon hit a step-back jumper and then stole a pass and went coast-to-coast for a layup on the ensuing possession.

The Mules held the Bears without a basket for more than six and a half minutes during the run, and Ursinus scored just eight points in the final 15:07 of the game. By comparison, the Mules had nine combined steals and blocks during that time span.

“It was all about defensive intensity,” said Berlin. “We got in their faces and forced them into things they’re not comfortable doing, and that led to turnovers.”

In all Muhlenberg had 10 steals and seven blocks on the defensive end while taking exceptional care of the ball on offense; after turning it over three times in the game’s first three minutes, Muhlenberg had just six turnovers the rest of the game.

“Our main goal was to come out stronger than we have in the past few games so we wouldn’t have to battle back in the second half,” noted Berlin. “We didn’t want a nail biter again.”

Exceptional passing is what ensured that this one wouldn’t be a nail biter. Muhlenberg assisted on all 12 of its first-half field goals – with Chili making the dish on half of them – and finished with 19 assists for the game.

“That’s just people making good cuts and getting open,” said Berlin. “Everyone had their heads up looking for the ball and was finishing. Coach has been harping on us about that, because everyone on this team can score.”

No one was as effective passing the ball as Chili, who finished with double-digit assists for the second time in her career. She added 14 points, which included three-of-five shooting from beyond the arc, to her 10 assists to record her third career double-double and the first with assists.

McKeon finished with nine points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. Cook was the only other double-digit scorer, with 12, as eight Mules had five or more points.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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