HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's basketball team gave Muhlenberg all it could handle on Wednesday evening inside the Gooding '84 Arena before falling by an 88-85 score.
The Fords, who led for the majority of the second half, got a three-pointer from Jonathan Lang with just 38.3 seconds to play to take a 85-84 lead. Nevertheless, Muhlenberg kept its playoff chances alive by answering just 13 seconds later to retake the lead. Haverford saw its possession stolen with a chance to go ahead and ran out of time after a pair of Muhlenberg free throws in the final seconds.
Joe Scibelli scored 16 second half points and finished with a team-high 20 points on the evening. Haverford had seven players finish with at least six points in the game, with Kahlil Garnes (18 points) and Lang (14 points) both going into double figures. Jesse Turkson came within one basket of a double-double as he pulled down 11 rebounds to go along with his eight points. Owen McLeod led Muhlenberg with 22 points.
Despite the scoreboard showing a 45-41 deficit at the end of the first half, Haverford outshot Muhlenberg by nearly 10% during that time. However, nine three-pointers from Muhlenberg kept the visitors in front. The score was tied on five different occasions during the opening period. Haverford cut down an eight point Muhlenberg lead with the help of three-pointers from Lang and Garnes to knot the score at 30-all with 5:51 to play in the half.
The Mules quickly pushed their advantage back to seven points before a Joe Hartman triple stopped that surge. Working the perimeter for five three-pointers of their own in the opening half, the Fords went into the paint for points on three straight possessions and trailed by just one, 42-41, before Muhlenberg added its final three points before the break.
Haverford knocked down six more three-pointers during the second half and the Fords used three of them in the early minutes to erase another seven point deficit with Scibelli, Lang, and Hartman connecting from distance over the course of four possessions to tie the game at 52-all with 15:32 to play. Another three-pointer from Scibelli just over a minute later gave Haverford a 55-52 lead with 14:56 to play.
The Fords held that advantage on the scoreboard all the way until the 4:23 mark when a pair of free throws put Muhlenberg back in front. Haverford's advantage reached as many as seven points on two occasions during that 10-plus minute stretch where the Fords were leading.
The final tie score of Wednesday's contest came when Scibelli knocked down two free throws of his own to even the score at 82-all with 1:42 left in regulation. The Fords looked poised for strong defensive stand when Kyle Goldfarb blocked a shot on the ensuing Muhlenberg possession. However, that deflection went right back to the shooter for a layup. Both teams came up with steals on the next two trips. Lang followed that up by knocking down his final three of the game to set the score at 85-84 before the Mules prevailed with the final four points.
Haverford finished the game with a 52.5% shooting mark, compared to just 43.2% from the visiting Mules. Both teams finished the game with 32 made field goals, 11 of which were from beyond the arc. Ultimately the only difference in scoring was Muhlenberg making 13-of-17 at the line while Haverford was 10-of-14.
Men's basketball will next head out on the road this Saturday as the team treks to McDaniel for a 3 p.m. tip off in Westminster. That matchup will be proceeded by the women's game against the Green Terror at 1 p.m. The men's team beat McDaniel 59-57 when these teams met back on January 11 inside Gooding '84 Arena.