Inside Play Lifts Men's Basketball Past Washington

Saturday, January 19, 2013 - page 2

Although temperatures in the mid-40s are a bit mild for January, it was still a day to stay inside. And the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team, motivated not by weather but by size, found that inside was a pretty good place to be.

The Mules used their height advantage to full effect, dominating in the post en route to a 77-48 home win against Washington.

Alec Stavetski
Freshman Alec Stavetski scored nine points off the bench.
Just 18 seconds into the game, junior center Kevin Hargrove made a layup off a high-low pass from junior forward Brandon Bovino, and the tone was set. The 6-10 Hargrove had a phenomenal game, with 17 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and no turnovers in 23 minutes. The 6-5 Bovino played only 16 minutes but had 10 points and eight rebounds.

The two combined to shoot 12-for-15 from the floor against a Shoremen squad that did not use a player taller than 6-5.

“We knew coming in that we were a lot bigger, with Kevin at the five and Brandon at the four,” said junior James Albano. “It was an emphasis to get it in to them, and they were dominating with their size and length. When we have an advantage like that, we want to take advantage.”

The Mules (10-7, 6-4) also used their height advantage on the boards, something which is not always easy against the Shoremen (2-15, 2-8), who annually are among the Centennial Conference leaders in offensive rebounds and had 16 when the teams met earlier this season. Muhlenberg owned a commanding 49-31 edge on the boards, and although Washington did get 13 offensive rebounds, three of them were off of blocked shots.

“They shoot a lot of threes, so we knew there were going to be a lot of long rebounds,” said Albano, who did not score a point but grabbed 10 rebounds. “The rebounds weren’t going to be in the paint, so we had to go track them down.”

Muhlenberg held a 19-10 lead midway through the first half and weathered a Washington run that cut the gap to three to take a 37-30 lead into the locker room. The second half was all Mules: They shot 53.8 percent from the field and outscored the Shoremen, who were one week removed from a 62-61 upset of CC leader Franklin & Marshall, by a 40-18 margin.

The 48 points were the fewest allowed by the Mules in a CC game in two years, and they held the fourth-leading scorer in the CC to eight points on 2-of-12 shooting.

“We held them to 48 points – that’s an accomplishment no matter who you play,” said Albano. “I’m really proud of our defensive effort.”

Leading the offensive effort was sophomore Malique Killing, who scored a game-high 21 points as Muhlenberg put its recent three-game losing streak even farther in the rearview mirror with its second straight impressive win.

“We had a really good week of practice and were intense in every drill,” said Albano. “We’ve developed more of a consistent approach. We’re ready to keep this rolling.”
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