Men's Basketball Uses Team Effort to Reach Scotty Wood Final

Friday, November 16, 2012

Women’s basketball

After Malique Killing put a cramp in Drew’s plans to reach the Scotty Wood Tournament championship game, he was sidelined with a cramp. But his teammates on the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team were able to stretch out their lead.

The Mules broke open a close game in the second half and went on to defeat Drew, 70-54, to advance to the Scotty Wood final for the eighth time in the last nine years. They will face Randolph, a 69-66 winner against Arcadia in the other first-round game.

AJ Dean
Dean scored nine of his 14 points in the second half.
The game was tied at 38 before Killing made two fullcourt layups, one off a defensive rebound and the other off a steal, early in the second half. He was fouled on the second one and made the free throw, then assisted sophomore AJ Dean on a three-pointer that capped an 8-0 run.

Muhlenberg never let the Rangers get closer than three the rest of the way, but the game was still close (52-45) when Killing was hobbled by a cramp for the third time in the game. The Mules’ top returning scorer wouldn’t return, but that didn’t seem to matter.

“Malique is a great player and he leads us when he’s on the court,” said junior Austin Curry. “But everyone on our team can play, and we just worked collectively to make up for Malique not being out there.”

Another 8-0 run, which included the first career points for freshman Alec Stavetski, a floater by Curry and a putback by senior Hunter Forsman, turned a six-point lead into a 14-point spread with about five minutes left.

Central to the collective effort was a defense that held the Rangers to 22 second-half points. Drew was 8-for-19 from three-point range in the first half, which ended with the Mules up by two, but missed all 11 of its attempts from behind the arc in the final 20 minutes.

“We were able to drop off one of our big guys in the lane and play them tighter outside,” explained Curry, who drew two charges in the game. “When they drove we were able to rotate our defense and pick up the drives.”

The “big guys” were big factors on offense as well. Junior Kevin Hargrove scored a game-high 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting, and junior Brandon Bovino gave the team a big lift in the first half, scoring seven points in nine minutes in his first action in two years.

It didn’t come as easy as last year’s 100-73 win against SUNY Cobleskill in the first round of the Scotty Wood Tournament, but it accomplished the same result.

“Honestly, that’s a pretty good thing,” said Curry, one of four double-figure scorers with 13 points. “We had to go through some adversity, and it showed that we need to pull together and don’t try to take the game over individually when things aren’t going our way.”
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