Men's Basketball Picks Up First Conference Win

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Women’s basketball

Coming off a disappointing overtime loss at Washington in its Centennial Conference opener, the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team needed a strong bounce-back effort when Haverford came to town. By correcting some recent issues, the Mules headed into the holiday break feeling thankful for a victory.

Kevin Hargrove Muhlenberg pulled away midway through the second half to take a 75-59 decision against the Fords. After struggling with turnovers and three-point defense against the Shoremen, the Mules (4-1, 1-1) shored up those areas in a big way and avoided a troublesome 0-2 start in CC play with a convincing performance.

“We knew that starting off 0-1 in the conference wasn’t good,” said senior co-captain Brandon Bovino, who fell just shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. “We went out there and handled our business. Especially before the holiday, it’s nice to get that first conference win and feel good about it.”

Junior Malique Killing paced four Mules in double figures with 18 points and five assists, but it was Alec Stavetski who found his stroke after halftime to help his team gain some separation from a scrappy Haverford squad.

James Albano After missing his only two shots and going scoreless in the first half, Stavetski flipped the switch after intermission. With Muhlenberg holding on to a 41-34 lead a few minutes into the second half, the sweet-shooting sophomore rattled off the Mules’s next 11 points, sandwiching a pair of three-pointers around a layup and three free throws, the last of which capped a 6-0 run that made it 47-34. When the Fords fought back to within 49-40, Stavetski drained a corner three on a dish from Killing to bring the lead back to double digits. Haverford never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.

Three days after giving up 13 three-pointers to Washington, the Mules held the Fords to 4-of-23 shooting (17.4 percent) from behind the arc.

“Defense was definitely a key going into the game,” said Bovino, who also had a pair of assists and a steal and made all four of his free throws. “Coach emphasized it all week. Give credit to the coaches for giving us a great scouting report and making sure we knew who’s a shooter and who’s not and having good possessions.”

Senior co-captain James Albano (left) finished with a season-high seven points and seven rebounds for the Mules, who made 20 of their 21 foul shots and led by as many as 21. Stavetski added six rebounds and four assists to his 13 second-half points, and senior co-captain Kevin Hargrove (right) combined six boards with 11 points, including a highlight-reel jam plus a foul with 2:29 remaining that put an exclamation point on the win.

Now, with a full week to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and rest up for a trip to Swarthmore, Bovino and the Mules are looking forward to some hard-earned and much-needed down time.

“With 11 guys, we have a deep team on game night, but in practice it’s tough because some guys are banged up,” Bovino said. “These days off are going to be great for us.”
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