ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Cam Baker scored a game-high 18 points while Lucas Colombo pulled down a team-best 11 rebounds for Haverford College's men's basketball team Wednesday night, but host Muhlenberg College went 7-of-8 from the foul line down the stretch to defeat the visiting Fords, 61-51, in Centennial Conference action.
Haverford (7-16, 5-12 CC) pulled within five points of the playoff-bound Mules (15-9, 11-6) nearing the two-minute mark, but the Fords were forced to foul to preserve time on the clock and Muhlenberg was nearly perfect from the stripe to hold off the come-back attempt.
Early action saw the Fords pushing into the lead, holding onto a slip three-point margin, 11-8, at the 14-minute mark of the opening half. Muhlenberg wrested the lead and control of the game, however, behind a 12-0 spurt that provided the home team with a nine-point lead.
Haverford, which shot 45 percent from the floor over the opening 20 minutes, trimmed the lead to four and entered the intermission trailing by a score of 32-28. Unfortunately for the Fords, the snowy weather outside might have seeped into the locker room as they went cold in the second half, hitting only 23 percent of their shots.
Still, the Fords battled back into the game cutting a 15-point second-half Muhlenberg lead to eight on a 7-0 run. Eli Schwarz kicked the run off with a 3-pointer followed by a layup from Colombo. Louis Cipriano's jumper capped the brief rally.
Muhlenberg lengthened their advantage once again, but once more the Fords regained the momentum and climbed within striking distance at 54-49 with 2:17 remaining. The Mules were not particularly solid from the foul line throughout most of the game, finishing the contest hitting just 68 percent of their free throws, but stepped up in crunch time with their 7-for-8 performance.
Baker was the only Ford reaching double-digits in the offensive end but Cipriano and Schwarz, with eight and seven points, respectively, each hit a pair of three-pointers to help the Haverford attack.
Kevin Hargrove led a trio of Mules scoring in double-figures, netting 14 points and pulling off the double-double by coming down with a game-high 12 rebounds.
The season concludes for Haverford with its rivalry game on Saturday afternoon against visiting Swarthmore College. The Fords and Garnet will tip off their regular-season finale at 3 p.m. in the final appearance at Gooding Arena for seniors Baker and Schwarz.