LANCASTER, Pa. – Haverford College's unranked Fords pushed No. 8 Franklin & Marshall College to the buzzer Saturday afternoon in Centennial Conference men's basketball action, but the Fords' last-second shot was just off the mark in their 61-59 loss to the nationally-ranked Diplomats in the Mayser Center.
Haverford (3-5, 2-3 CC) forced F&M (7-0, 5-0) into a shot-clock violation turnover when the Diplomats had a chance to ice the game, leading by two with six seconds remaining. Following a time-out by the Fords they moved the ball up court quickly, eventually getting the ball into Cam Baker's hands for a driving layup.
Baker's attempt was blocked out of bounds allowing Haverford to maintain possession with upset hopes still alive as 1.2 seconds remained on the clock. Gibby Graves inbounded the ball to Lucas Colombo who began the play at the top of the key, but slid around the three-point line to the right where he received the pass and launched his attempt at the game-winner from behind the arc. The shot slid to the left of the basket, though, and the Diplomats were able to escape with the win.
The Fords moved into the game's final sequences after battling back from a 59-54 deficit. Colombo and Brett Cohen had converted layups to draw closer, and Baker sank a free throw to bring the Fords within a basket of tying the game.
First-half action was a see-saw battle with 14 lead changes and three tie scores. The Fords closed out the opening 20 minutes with a 32-31 advantage following a pair of Baker free throws.
Second-half play differed from the first as both teams held leads for lengthy stretches. Haverford used an early 7-0 run to move in front 39-35, eventually building the lead to six points at 48-42. The Diplomats answered with a run of their own to pull even at 50-50 as the game ticked under the 10-minute mark. Later, a 7-0 run by F&M pushed its advantage to 59-54 with 2:44 left in the game.
Haverford played a strong game defensively holding F&M to nine points shy of its per game average. The Fords forced 17 Diplomat turnovers and registered 14 steals on the day.
Cohen led the Fords' offensive attack with a game-high 25 points. He also pulled down a team-best nine rebounds. Colombo and Baker were also sparks on the attack with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Matt Porter's 15 points led the home team, and Jon Solandra aided the cause with a double-double scoring 11 and coming away with 10 rebounds.
The Fords step out of conference action for their final game of the fall semester slate, welcoming Eastern University to Gooding Arena on Satuday, Dec. 15 for a Main Line rivalry match-up beginning at 3 p.m.