BALTIMORE – In what might have borrowed some type of applicable form of the Miracle on Ice or Music City Miracle monikers, Haverford College's men's basketball team nearly pulled off a rally of epic proportions Saturday afternoon, clawing back from a 28-point deficit before falling to host Johns Hopkins University by just five points, 72-67, in Centennial Conference men's basketball action at Goldfarb Gymnasium.
The Fords (5-8, 3-5 CC) trailed the Blue Jays ((9-6, 5-3) by a score of 37-9 with 5:22 to play in the first half, and eventually entered the halftime break facing a 44-21 Hopkins advantage.
Through the opening third of the second half there seemed to be only a resurgence in defensive presence for the Fords who slowed the Blue Jays' offense down but had trouble generating their own points.
With 13:15 remaining and facing a 19-point deficit, Haverford's offense awoke and began its rally using an Anthony Reyes jumper. By the time Hopkins scored again the lead had been trimmed to nine behind a 9-0 Fords run.
The teams traded baskets over the next few times up and down the court until a Cam Baker jumper brought Haverford to within six at 67-61. Again the teams traded buckets but successful jumpers by Reyes then Baker, sandwiched around a Hopkins turnover, cut the deficit to just four with 38 seconds showing on the game clock.
Another Hopkins turnover gave Haverford a chance to make the contest a one-possession game but the rally finally ran out of steam, allowing the home team to escape with a five-point victory.
Brett Cohen continued a strong stretch of outings leading Haverford with 20 points and pulling down seven rebounds. Over the past six games Cohen has averaged just shy of 20 points per outing to increase his season average from 11.7 to 15.5 points per game. Baker heated up in the second half Saturday pouring in 14 of his 19 points over the final 20 minutes. James Levine also sparkled in the second stanza scoring all eight of his points in the half behind a 2-for-2 effort from beyond the arc.
Hopkins' George Bugarinovic posted a double-double for the Blue Jays in the win, scoring 18 points and coming down with a game-high 11 rebounds.
The host team was a strong 57 percent from the floor for the afternoon while the Fords recovered from an 8-for-27 slump in the opening half to finish at 40 percent from the field behind a 17-for-35 second-period effort.
Haverford's defense, which registered 14 steals, hounded the Blue Jays forcing 20 turnovers and generating 21 points off those Hopkins miscues.
Centennial action continues for the Fords in their next game as Muhlenberg College visits Gooding Arena for a league match-up on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m.