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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

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Dickinson may look back on this one and say, “Don’t Toze me, bro.”

That’s because junior Evan Tozer sank the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:23 to play to lift the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team to a thrilling 73-70 victory at Memorial Hall.

“[Freshman] Matt O’Hara just kicked it to me, and fortunately I hit it,” said Tozer.

Women Steal Away from Bryn Mawr

The Muhlenberg women’s basketball team forced 35 turnovers and recorded 25 steals in winning its fifth straight game, 74-48 at Bryn Mawr.

The 14th-ranked Mules (6-1, 4-0) shot at a lower percentage than the Owls (1-6, 0-5) but took 36 more shots thanks to their turnover differential.

All 14 active Muhlenberg players were on the court for between nine and 20 minutes; all but two scored and all but one recorded a steal. None of the five starters played more than five minutes in the second half.

Sophomore Alexandra Chili led a balanced scoring attack with 13 points in only 18 minutes. Freshman Julie Kelly netted a career-high nine points in just the third game of her career, while senior co-captain Brenna Ferster also hit a career best in her 75th game, scoring seven points.

Junior Kelly McKeon dished out six assists in only 15 minutes of playing time, jumping into fourth place on the Mules’ all-time list with 286 career assists. Sophomore Katy Rossino led the team with five steals.

Muhlenberg has won 26 in a row against Centennial Conference opponents and is 30-0 all-time against Bryn Mawr.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

The trey came with Dickinson (0-6, 0-3) leading 69-68. Senior Brian Frankoski hit a pair of three throws on the Mules’ previous possession to cut the deficit to one, and Muhlenberg (4-3, 3-0) took over after the Red Devils missed a triple of their own.

O’Hara then found Tozer for his ninth assist of the night, the most by any Mule so far this season.

video of Evan Tozer game-winning 3
Click above to see the video of Tozer’s winning three-pointer.
“That’s just my shooters knocking down shots,” he said.

A Dickinson free throw cut the lead to 71-70, and O’Hara went to the line with 17.9 seconds remaining. The freshman sank both free throws, the final one hitting front iron, bouncing straight up and hanging in the air before falling through the hoop.

“I just wanted to stay calm, cool and collected,” said O’Hara. “My teammates were supportive and I wanted to make it for them.”

The Red Devils missed both of their three-point attempts in the final seven seconds. In all Dickinson had four chances to tie or take the lead in the final minute, but it could not come up with a bucket.

In the first half, Muhlenberg built a nine-point lead, its sharp shooting (54.2 percent in the first half, 55.1 percent for the game) making up for a plethora of turnovers (20 in all). But Dickinson clawed back, scoring on its final five possessions of the half and taking a 35-34 lead into the break on a 25-foot three that banked in with just four seconds left.

Ryan Foster
In addition to scoring eight points, senior Ryan Foster pulled down eight rebounds, helping Muhlenberg to a 38-22 edge on the boards. In their three CC games, the Mules have outrebounded their opponents 119-66.
But the long bank may not have been the strangest sight of the first period. Senior Peter Barnes was forced to change uniforms after being cut and bleeding onto his customary No. 50; after an official’s timeout, he reentered the game wearing a slimmer-fitting No. 22 jersey.

“It got us a win, so I may have to wear it for the rest of the season,” joked Barnes.

Red Devil Chris Barsanti needed a uniform change of his own at halftime, from No. 22 to No. 41, after ripping his usual jersey.

Despite all the changing, Dickinson was still clinging to a one-point lead three minutes into the second period. But O’Hara sparked a 10-1 Muhlenberg run by feeding Frankoski for a layup on an inbounds play under the basket. He did it again just a few plays later, finding sophomore Spencer Liddic wide open under the hoop on another inbounds.

Frankoski capped the run with a jumper, but then Dickinson made its move again, going on a 16-5 run to tie the score at 61-61. Tozer found O’Hara for a huge three to make it 64-61, but the Red Devils reeled off eight of the next 10 points to take a 69-66 lead.

From there Tozer and O’Hara did the rest.

“That was one of our best wins,” said Barnes. “We won our last two conference games by double digits, but getting a three-point victory like that shows a lot about us as a team. A win like that builds character for the season.”

The win not only built character, it also kept Muhlenberg undefeated in the Centennial Conference on the final night of conference games before a month-long layoff. Previously unbeaten Gettsyburg fell at Franklin & Marshall, making the Mules the lone 3-0 team in the CC (McDaniel is the only other unbeaten, at 2-0).

Barnes and Frankoski led the Mules with 13 points each. Tozer finished with 12 on 4-of-6 shooting, all from beyond the arc. Liddic pulled down a game-high nine boards.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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