History Repeats: Men's Basketball Beats Dickinson by Three

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Women’s basketball

It might not have been a Centennial Conference playoff game, but the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team’s 61-58 victory over Dickinson ended in an eerily similar fashion to the semifinal game against the Red Devils last spring.

Brandon Bovino
Bovino is averaging 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in his three games as a starter.
In both games, Dickinson had a chance to send things into overtime with a three-pointer at the buzzer. And both times, Adam Honig’s long-range attempts came up empty.

“It’s certainly deja vu for these guys,” said junior Brandon Bovino, who took last season off. “With two seconds left, you just have to make sure that you have a hand in their faces and don’t foul.”

Bovino had his first career double-double to propel the Mules to their fourth straight win, their first in Carlisle since the 2008-09 season. He had 14 points on the night and grabbed 11 boards. Sophomore Malique Killing led all scorers with 18 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 27.4 seconds left.

Muhlenberg (5-2, 3-1) also got a big three-pointer from freshman Alec Stavetski. The sharpshooter drained a three at the halftime buzzer to tie the score at 31 going into the locker room after the Mules had trailed by nine points in the first half.

“Alec hit that big three at the end of the half and we were doing well on the boards in the first 20 minutes,” stated Bovino. “We had good momentum going into the second half and Coach told us to keep fighting hard.”

Although Dickinson jumped to a six-point lead in the first two-and-a-half minutes after the break, the Mules refused to let the game slip away – they scored two consecutive buckets, each followed by a defensive stop, to cut the lead back to two. A three-pointer by senior Matt O’Hara with 15:32 remaining gave Muhlenberg its first lead since the 16:58 mark in the first half.

“O’Hara came in after halftime, had three turnovers, sat down, then came back in and hit a huge three,” said Bovino. “We were able to overcome adversity and bounce back after some mistakes. We just kept fighting.”

Matt O'Hara
O'Hara tied a career high with nine rebounds.
Both teams fought for control throughout the tight second half, which featured nine lead changes.

Dickinson, which came into the game as one of two teams undefeated in CC play, took its first lead in more than eight minutes with 4:41 remaining, but sophomore Killing tied the game at 57 on a jumper in the lane with 3:22 to play.

Two possessions later, a floater by O’Hara gave Muhlenberg a two-point lead with just over two minutes to go.

Although the Red Devils were just 2-for-12 from behind the arc in the second half, one of those threes came with 49 seconds left in the game to give them a one-point lead.

That’s when Killing took things into his own hands. He held the ball for several seconds well behind the three-point line and then sunk a long-range trey to put Muhlenberg back on top, 60-58.

On the next possession, Killing stole the ball at the elbow on a lofty entry pass intended for the post. He passed it off to junior Austin Curry, who was fouled and made one of two free throws to give the Mules a three-point advantage with 7.7 showing on the clock.

After a timeout, Dickinson inbounded from the sidelines with just 2.2 remaining. As Honig’s shot bounced off the rim, a celebration began among the players in red jerseys.

“The key to getting this win was knowing personnel,” added Bovino. “Coach Marqus [Hunter] did a great job with the scout. We knew who we were guarding and we knew what we needed to do. This win definitely gives us a lot of confidence heading into our game against Johns Hopkins this weekend.”
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