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Muhlenberg College

Thursday, February 11, 2010

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Evan Tozer With most of the Mid-Atlantic covered in more than a foot of snow, the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team shoveled its way out of a big second-half deficit before being buried by some timely shooting.

The Mules fought back from down nine to take a three-point lead, but ultimately fell, 69-60, at Dickinson.

Despite the loss, Muhlenberg (12-10, 10-5) remains in second place in the Centennial Conference with the regular season winding down. First-place Franklin & Marshall held off third-place Gettysburg, 76-58, to clinch the top seed and keep the Bullets a game back of second, and Haverford stayed alive in the fight for the final playoff spot with a 78-69 win over Ursinus.

The Mules trailed the Red Devils (3-17, 3-12), who already played the role of spoiler once by beating Gettysburg two weeks ago, 42-33 with 9:49 to play. But senior Brian Frankoski helped bring Muhlenberg back by sinking a pair of free throws and then stealing a Dickinson inbounds near the Mule basket and going coast-to-coast for a layup.

Three Mules – freshman Rob Berish, junior Evan Tozer (left) and freshman Matt O’Hara – then hit three huge triples, giving Muhlenberg its first lead, 51-49, since just after halftime. Dickinson was within one when Berish went to the line and hit both ends of a one-and-one, making it 53-50 with 4:12 remaining.

Dickinson responded with a three, four free throws and another trey to pull ahead 60-54, and the Red Devils sank 9 of their 10 attempts from the charity stripe the rest of the way to seal the victory.

The early going was all Mules, led by the red-hot shooting of Tozer. He netted 14 first-half points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. A Tozer triple from the right wing gave Muhlenberg its biggest lead of the game at 21-8.

The Red Devils closed the half on a 13-5 run and stayed hot in the second, shooting 60.0 percent from the field and 6-for-9 from three-point range. The Mules overcame being held scoreless for the first 5:41 of the period to go on the 20-8 run that gave them their late lead.

Tozer led the way with 17 points and three steals, and Frankoski finished with 15 points and four rebounds. Sophomore Spencer Liddic added 12 points, 10 of which came at the free-throw line, and seven boards.
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