January 31, 2013

Wire-to-wire win over Shoremen thrilling to final buzzer

HAVERFORD, Pa. – Thursday evening's wire-to-wire victory by Haverford College over visiting Washington College proved to be a taut 40-minute affair as the Fords held on for a 62-60 Centennial Conference men's basketball victory over the Shoremen in Gooding Arena.

Cam Baker's pull-up jumper from near the foul line pushed Haverford (7-12, 5-8 CC) ahead by five, 62-57, with 47 seconds remaining in the game but Stephen Poarch cut into the advantage with a clutch 3-pointer from the right sideline that pulled the Shoremen (2-18, 2-11) within a basket with 20 seconds still left on the clock.

A turnover by the Fords in their offensive end breathed life into the dying hopes of the visitors and a Haverford foul on the play further resuscitated the Shoremen. John Weston stepped to the line with seven seconds remaining but missed the front end of his 1-and-1 opportunity and Lucas Colombo's rebound all but assured the Fords their hard-fought victory.

Haverford opened the game with a 7-0 run then scored the next seven points after Washington's first basket of the game for what would become the Fords' largest lead of the game at 14-2 just four minutes into Thursday's action.

The home-team's advantage lingered near the double-digit mark for much of the opening half but a late push by the visitors allowed Haverford to enter the intermission with only a 36-32 edge.

Washington came out of the locker room with a couple of strong minutes of play, pulling even at 38-38 at the 17:13 mark and then again at 44-44 five minutes later but Haverford never faltered, getting a fall-away jumper from Baker to break the tie then holding onto the advantage the rest of the way.

Baker finished with a team-high 18 points to lead a trio of Fords into double-digit scoring. Louis Cipriano added 14 points and Brett Cohen scored 10 while pulling down six rebounds. James Levine shared game-high honors with Cohen on the glass also nabbing six boards as Haverford finished with a 26-22 advantage in rebounds over the Shoremen.

Levine's ball handling was key for the Fords in the narrow victory as he dished out a game-high eight assists while committing only one turnover.

Poarch led Washington in defeat netting 21 points which included a 6-for-6 effort from the foul line. As a team the Shoremen were 8-for-9 from the line on the night -- their only miss coming on Weston's late-game bonus opportunity.

The win allows Haverford to stay in the chase for a conference playoff spot. Three of its next four games, including Saturday's outing at McDaniel College, are against teams vying for the last few berths in the postseason Centennial tournament.