Seven Unlucky Number as Basketball Teams Are Swept

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Erin Laney One team almost pulled off a big comeback and the other was the victim of a big comeback when the Muhlenberg basketball teams traveled to McDaniel for their first Centennial Conference games of 2014.

The women fell, 52-45, while the men also lost by seven, 57-50, leaving both teams still searching for their first win of the new year.

Matched up against a Green Terror team that came in leading the CC in scoring defense, the women struggled to rediscover their form on offense. The Mules (5-6, 2-3) managed just 16 points on 24-percent shooting in the first half and finished at 33 percent for the game in losing for the first time in the last seven meetings with the Green Terror (8-3, 3-2).

Despite their difficulties, the Mules still put a scare into the home crowd, thanks in large part to a strong defensive effort that held the Green Terror to a 30-percent performance from the field. They trailed 37-22 with 15 minutes to play, but a 15-1 run over the next six and a half minutes, punctuated by a three-point play by senior Erin Laney, pulled the Mules to within 38-37 with 8:42 remaining. Laney had nine of her team-high 14 points during the spurt, and the Muhlenberg defense forced McDaniel into nine consecutive misses and a pair of turnovers to fight nearly all the way back.

But that was as close as Muhlenberg got. The Green Terror answered with a three-point play and uncorked a 12-2 run of their own to restore a double-digit advantage on a pair of free throws with 3:39 remaining.

John Hunter Laney (left) grabbed 10 rebounds for her third career double-double, while junior Leanna Tallamy finished with 13 points and six rebounds for the Mules.
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The men led by as many as 15 in the first half before going cold in the second as McDaniel scored the final eight points. The loss was the third in a row for Muhlenberg.

The Mules (8-4, 3-2) were clicking on all cylinders in the first half, when they made 13 of their first 22 shots (59 percent) and jumped out to a 30-15 lead on a three-pointer by sophomore Alec Stavetski at the 6:26 mark. After that, though, scoring became a major struggle.

McDaniel (8-4, 3-2) closed to within 33-24 at the break and slowly closed the gap from there, taking its first lead since the opening minutes on a pair of free throws midway through the half that made it 40-39.

It was a back-and-forth affair after that, with the lead changing hands six times down the stretch. The last came with just over a minute remaining, when the Green Terror drained a three-pointer to take a 52-50 edge. The Mules came up empty on their next possession and McDaniel produced the dagger, hitting another long ball – by a player who had made only one three all season coming in – with 18 seconds left and the shot clock winding down to quell any hope of a comeback.

Junior Malique Killing netted a game-high 16 points, but no other Mule reached double figures in a contest that marked the team’s lowest scoring output of the season by 14 points. Muhlenberg managed only 17 points in the second half, and just 20 in the game’s final 26-plus minutes.

Freshman John Hunter (right) recorded two of the Mules’s six blocked shots and pulled down four rebounds.
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.