Last-second scramble gives Fords heartbreak

HAVERFORD, Pa. – Eighteen lead changes and 10 ties were indicative of the battle waged on the court in Gooding Arena Wednesday night, and it concluded perhaps the only way a game such as this one could end as an off balance, buzzer-beating shot sent Haverford College's men's basketball team to a heartbreaking, 64-62, Centennial Conference loss to visiting Ursinus College.

Haverford (7-14, 5-10 CC) and the Bears (8-14, 6-9) came out of the locker rooms at halftime knotted at 34-34, but the first half was tepid in comparison to the excitement and momentum swings over the final 20 minutes.

Ursinus rolled out of the break to a 48-41 lead with a 14-7 start to the half only to see its advantage disappear behind a quick run from the Fords. Cam Baker knocked down a 14-foot jumper to get the ball rolling, then added a traditional 3-pointer following a Bears miss, driving the lane for a layup and getting fouled on the play. His free throw cut the deficit to two at the 12:20 mark.

Another turnover by Ursinus put the ball in the Fords' hands and Brett Cohen's put-back of an Eli Schwarz miss completed the rally, tying things up at 48-48.

A pair of Baker free throws finished off a 9-0 run for Haverford but signaled the beginning of a 10-minute, see-saw battle. Baker's pair from the line marked the first of 12 lead changes and four ties over the final 10:45.

Haverford nabbed its final lead of the game on a driving layup from Lucas Colombo. Starting at the top right, above the arc, Colombo curled across the key and slashed to the bucket for a layup from the right side to give the home team a 62-61 edge with two minutes to play.

Ursinus' Mark Wonderling converted only the front-end of a 1-and-1 situation at the 1:35 mark to square things at 62-apiece. Baker came away with the rebound on Wonderling's miss and the Fords took two cracks at the winning basket without luck.

The Bears pushed the ball up court then called a pair of timeouts with 10.1 seconds on the clock, planning their final shot.

As Jesse Krasna was crossing the top of the key with possession, Baker got a hand on the ball and tipped it toward the sideline. Krasna reached the loose ball first at the sideline in front of his bench, stumbled through several Fords and Bears back toward the key and lofted a prayer of a jumper that fell through the rim with the buzzer sounding to allow the visitors to escape with the win.

The Fords owned advantages in most of the statistical categories including rebounding (31-29), steals (11-5), points in the paint (36-30), second-chance points (13-8), points off turnovers (21-10) and fast-break points (10-0). The most important category, however, was the one in lights up on the scoreboard where Haverford was forced to look at its only deficiency of the evening.

Baker poured in a game-high 22 points for Haverford with Cohen, who pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, chipping in with 13 points. Kevin Janowski's 15 points led a trio of Bears in double-figures as Malik Draper added 13 with Jon Ward coming away with 11.

The Fords hit the road for their next two games, traveling to Carlisle, Pa., Saturday for an afternoon meeting with Centennial-leader Dickinson College, followed by a trip to Allentown, Pa., to match up with host Muhlenberg College on Wednesday night for the penultimate game of the regular season.