Mule logo  
Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

 December 30 | January 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 19 20 21 22 23 25 26 27 28 29 30 | February 1

Women’s basketball

Men’s basketball starts, finishes strong;
remains in tie for second place

Few things are easy to predict in Centennial Conference men’s basketball, but this is: no game is secure until the final buzzer sounds.

It’s a lesson Muhlenberg re-learned in its 66-55 win against Haverford, a victory that strengthened the Mules’ playoff chances.

On a night when winless Dickinson stunned Gettysburg, and first-place
Spencer Liddic
Liddic is averaging 15.2 points and 13.5 rebounds in the last six games. For the season, he is averaging a double-double (13.0 points and a CC-leading 10.1 rebounds).
Franklin & Marshall struggled to beat sixth-place Johns Hopkins, Muhlenberg nearly saw an early 16-point lead evaporate. The Fords closed to within three before the Mules slammed the door, scoring the final eight points of the game to remain in a tie for second place with seven games left.

“It’s been true my three-and-a-half years here,” said senior Obi Nwizugbo, who gave the Mules (10-8, 8-3) a big boost off the bench with 14 points and two blocked shots. “The Centennial Conference is very competitive, and once you lose a little bit of focus, teams will come get you. You have to stay focused for all 40 minutes, not just 35, because in those five minutes you could lose the game.”

The first five minutes of this game belonged the Muhlenberg – in particular, Ryan Foster. The senior scored the Mules’ first 13 points, draining three straight three-pointers, to give the home team a 13-2 lead. The bulge eventually stretched to 16-2, and Muhlenberg took its biggest lead at 24-8 with just over seven minutes to play in the first half.

Haverford (5-12, 3-8) began to whittle away at the lead, cutting it to 10 at halftime and five with 10:31 left in the second half.

“Physically we were there the whole time, but mentally, when we went on that big
Rob Berish
Freshman Rob Berish drove the baseline for a layup that gave the Mules a 26-11 lead late in the first half.
run at the start, we stepped off the gas a little,” said Nwizugbo. “Sometimes it’s hard to turn that switch back on.

“It was ugly, but a win’s a win,” he added.

The Fords turned two straight Muhlenberg turnovers into points on a putback and a three-pointer to make the score 58-55 with four minutes left to play. The Mules turned the ball over again on a 10-second violation, and Haverford had the ball with a chance to tie when Nwizugbo emphatically blocked a layup attempt towards the Ford bench.

“I felt like Pete Barnes out there,” joked Nwizugbo, referring to the Mules’ injured starting center who leads the CC in blocked shots. “I knew the game was close, and I wanted to make a play. I saw Justin [Greenstone] forced his man to me so I took a chance and went up for the block.”

Haverford ultimately was called for an illegal screen on that possession, and Greenstone’s free throw with 2:48 left gave Muhlenberg a 59-55 lead. The Fords’ last five possessions ended with a missed front end of a one-and-one, three missed jumpers that Mules rebounded and a turnover.

Muhlenberg meanwhile, clinched the game on a three-point possession when Foster rebounded Nwizugbo’s missed free throw and fed junior Evan Tozer for a layup, then put the icing on the cake by beating the press to get sophomore Spencer Liddic a dunk with 57.9 seconds left.

Foster cooled down after his fast start but still finished with a game-high 17 points. Liddic posted his CC-leading eighth double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds.

The Mules are tied with Ursinus for second place, a game behind F&M. Of the teams currently tied for sixth place, one spot below the last playoff spot, Muhlenberg has already swept Johns Hopkins and can complete a sweep of McDaniel with a win on the road Saturday.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

Muhlenberg® Collegeempty2400 Chew St.emptyAllentown, PA 18104-5586empty484.664.3100empty484.664.3623  (TTY)