HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's basketball team led wire-to-wire against visiting Washington College Wednesday evening on its way to a 75-69 win. However, the win felt anything but comfortable as the Shoremen cut the Fords' lead down to a single point on four different occasions during the second half, including a 65-64 Haverford lead with 2:18 to play. Nevertheless, Haverford's defense made the stops it needed for the victory.
Wednesday's Centennial Conference matchup was a consummate team effort from the Fords as four different players scored 10 or more points for just the fifth time this season. Gibby Graves and Anthony Reyes led the way with 18 points each, while Matt Sherman followed closely behind with 16 points. James Levine added 10 points in the win, while Lucas Colombo just missed becoming the fifth Haverford player to finish in double figures as he scored nine points and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds. Pat Morgan led Washington College with a game-high 19 points.
Haverford got off to a lightning fast start by scoring 18 of the first 24 points, racing out to an 18-6 advantage just over eight minutes into the contest. Haverford's lead reached its pinnacle for the half and game when Colombo came up with an offensive rebound and layup for a 20-7 lead. Josh Fried would then do the same thing just minutes later as he hit the offensive glass before finishing in the paint, matching the Fords' largest lead of the night at 22-9 with 9:20 left in the half.
As was the case all night long, Washington College did not go away easily. The Shoremen sliced Haverford's lead to six points with a 10-3 run. However, the Fords limited Washington College to just over 29-percent from the field in the opening half, while Haverford was 16-of-33 (48.5%) from the field over the first 20 minutes. That shooting edge gave the hosts a 38-29 lead as the teams retreated to the locker room.
After a strong start from the Fords in the opening half, it was the Shoremen that attempted to return the favor in the second half. The visitors found themselves down by 11 points after Graves hit a layup to open the scoring in the second half, but went on to score 17 of the next 24 points and climb within a single point for the first time all game with the score 47-46 and 11:46 left in the contest.
Sherman knocked down a three-pointer on Haverford's next possession to stop the brief skid. The Fords held leads of five points on three separate occasions over the next five minutes, but again the Shoremen rallied and made the score 59-58 with 5:20 left in the contest. The teams then traded a layup from Sherman for two free throws from Washington College as the game crawled to 61-60 with 4:02 to play. The Shoremen found themselves at the line prior to Sherman's layup but missed both ends in their bid to tie the game and potentially take the lead for the first time all night.
Haverford again made it a two possession game when Graves went on his own personal 4-0 run, pushing the score to 65-60. However, back-to-back scores from the Shoremen made it a one point game for the final time on the evening as Haverford was holding a 65-64 edge with 2:18 to play.
The Fords were finally able to put the game out of reach with an 8-1 run down the stretch. Graves got to the line and provided a buffer, while Levine knocked down a huge three-pointer from the corner to prompt a Washington College timeout. Out of the break, Colombo came down with another rebound off of Washington College's miss and connected on both of his free throws on the offensive end. Sherman would also hit 3-of-4 at the free throw line in the final 13 seconds to eliminate any remote chances of a last ditch comeback.
Haverford held a 40-35 edge in rebounding on the evening. In addition to Colombo, Graves added nine rebounds to just miss a double-double, while Josh Fried pulled down a season-high seven rebounds. A strong night on the boards resulted in a 15-6 advantage in second chance points for the Fords.
Men's basketball will again be home this Saturday as Gettysburg comes to town for a scheduled 3 p.m. tip. Saturday's game will be preceded by the women's contest at 1 p.m.