Men's Basketball Pulls Away Late to Snap Skid

Saturday, January 11, 2014 - page 2

Of the big numbers – 18 points, 13 rebounds, three blocked shots – Kevin Hargrove put up in the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team’s 77-69 home win against Gettysburg, the biggest may have been in the minutes column: 31.

Kevin Hargrove
The double-double was the fourth of the season for Hargrove.

The senior center, whose court time has been limited by foul trouble this year, was around at the end of the game to make big plays on both ends of the court as the Mules (9-4, 4-2) pulled out a thriller to snap a three-game losing skid.

Senior Austin Curry and junior Malique Killing added 16 points apiece, with Killing breaking the Centennial Conference record for consecutive free throws.

“Be smarter, that was the main thing,” said Hargrove of his ability to avoid fouls against the Bullets (5-8, 3-3). “A lot of my fouls were stupid fouls, little fouls. And then I had to make sure I didn’t get frustrated when I did get fouls called.”

Playing in front of a vocal group of hometown fans who made the journey from Queens to cheer him on, Hargrove had a dunk a little more than two minutes into the game and helped Muhlenberg build a 13-point lead. But Gettysburg, which swept the Mules in the regular season last year, clawed back and eventually tied the game at 59-all with 6:31 left.

Back and forth the teams went, and they were still tied at 67 with under two minutes left when Killing drove the baseline and whipped a pass to the corner for Curry, who drained the three-pointer to put Muhlenberg ahead for good.

After two Gettysburg free throws made it 70-69, Hargrove snagged a missed shot by Curry and put the ball back in for a 72-69 lead with just over 30 seconds to play.

Brandon LaRose
Freshman Brandon LaRose, who joined the team this week, drove in for this layup in the second half for his first field goal as a Mule.

With his team down by three, a Bullet player tried to drive in for a quick two on the next possession, but he met the imposing figure of Hargrove, who forced him to alter his plans in midair. Sophomore Alec Stavetski ran down the errant pass into the corner and was fouled with 15.2 seconds left.

“We knew we couldn’t foul in that situation,” said Hargrove. “So I just kept my hands up and got big.”

Stavetski made both free throws, and three more foul shots by Killing and Curry iced the win.

Killing entered the game needing to make five straight free throws to snap the CC record of 29 in a row, and he did so in style, with the record-breaker completing a three-point play that gave the Mules a 57-52 lead with 9:11 left. Although the streak ended at 31 when he missed the second of two shots at the 2:06 mark, the only streak broken that mattered to Muhlenberg was its losing skid.

“We needed to get back to our winning culture,” said Hargrove. “The last two games we weren’t excited to play. We had to get our energy back up.”

And they had to keep it for the full 40 minutes to avoid losing a tight CC game in which they squandered a double-digit lead for the second time in four days.

“We’re a veteran team, and we’ve been in that situation many times before,” said Hargrove. “It’s all about keeping our concentration and being good teammates to each other.”
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