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Muhlenberg College

Saturday, January 9, 2010

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Women’s basketball, wrestling

STINGY MEN’S BASKETBALL IMPROVES TO 5-0

The Muhlenberg men’s basketball team saw how low it could go in reaching a new high.

The Mules held McDaniel to just 10 second-half points, a school record for the fewest points allowed in a half in the shot-clock era, en route to a 67-40 victory. The win pushed Muhlenberg (7-4) to 5-0 in the Centennial Conference, its best start in the league.

The previous record was set in 2007-08, when Muhlenberg held Philadelphia Biblical to just 13 points in the first half of the season opener.

Evan Tozer
Tozer was one of four Mules with at least three assists. In all Muhlenberg assisted on 17 of its 23 field goals.
But this was more than just a non-conference opener. It was a mid-season test against one of the CC’s playoff semifinalists from a season ago, a McDaniel (6-5, 2-2) team that had toppled then 10th-ranked Franklin & Marshall by nine earlier in the season.

“It was just an unbelievable team effort,” said sophomore Justin Greenstone. “Our defense requires us to rely on our teammates, and today we were clicking on all cylinders.”

The win not only set a record, it also kept Muhlenberg one game up on No. 13 Franklin & Marshall (10-2, 4-1) and Gettysburg (6-5, 4-1), the only remaining one-loss teams in the CC, as it prepares for showdowns against them next week.

“We feel good, but there’s so much left to do,” said Greenstone. “We need to keep bringing it, because every game in this league is tough.”

In this game, it was the Muhlenberg defense that was tough. Greenstone’s effort on one second-half possession in particular exemplified that. In the span of nine seconds the 5-9 point guard blocked a shot by McDaniel’s leading scorer from behind and then, after the Green Terror regained possession, intercepted a pass for one of Muhlenberg’s eight steals.

Freshman Matt O’Hara added three steals of his own and senior Peter Barnes had three blocks, all of which came in the second half, as the Mules held McDaniel to just 15.0 percent shooting (3-for-20) in the record-setting period and 28.3 percent for the game.

Muhlenberg’s offense wasn’t too shabby, either. With the score tied at 30-30 with 44 seconds to play in the first half, the Mules ripped off five unanswered points before the break. First junior Evan Tozer found senior Ryan Foster for the go-ahead layup, and then Foster returned the favor, dishing to Tozer on the left wing for a three-pointer with 10 seconds to go.

The offense stayed hot to start the second half as the defense clamped down. The Mules were a scorching 11-for-13 (84.6 percent) from the field in the first 11 minutes of the period. Foster poured in nine points during Muhlenberg’s 23-6 run to start the half, and sophomore Spencer Liddic put in seven.

For the game Liddic finished with 23 points, a career high, on an array of post moves and free throws (he finished 9-of-11 from the line).

“There are not many things Spencer can’t do,” said Greenstone. “Sometimes everything he does can go unnoticed, but after a game like that, he was definitely noticed.”

Foster added 11 points and a game-high four assists, and Barnes posted 10 points and 13 rebounds for his third straight double-double.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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