LANCASTER, Pa. – Playing a red-hot Franklin & Marshall team who had won four straight games coming into Saturday, the Haverford College men's basketball team looked headed for a wire-to-wire victory before the host Diplomats stormed back to prevail in overtime. F&M would eventually come away with a 64-57 victory to win their fifth straight.
The Fords led by as many as 22 points in the opening half and never allowed the Diplomats to hold a lead during regulation time. In fact, Haverford scored the game's opening points and F&M would not even hold a share of the lead until there was 3:06 left in regulation with the score tied at 49. That score was the same tally that sent the teams headed from an extra session.
Matt Sherman led Haverford with 14 points, while Jack Cork and Kahlil Garnes each finished with 11 points. Cork's night came as part of his first collegiate double-double as he also pulled down 15 rebounds to help Haverford hold a 45-43 edge on the boards. Franklin & Marshall was led by Brandon Federici's 22 points as the Diplomats also put three players in double figures despite the Fords holding a better shooting percentage from the field, from behind the arc, and at the free throw line.
Cork got the Fords on the board first with his work in the paint as he got a layup to go after back-to-back offensive rebounds. Haverford led 4-3 in a defensive battle as nearly five minutes had come off the clock. Sherman hit from beyond the arc to give the Haverford offense a spark. However, it was the Fords' defense – which did not allow Franklin & Marshall to score from the field for a span of 9:16 – that blew the game open.
During that time of total defensive dominance, the Fords rolled off 17 straight points. The offensive end of the floor was also a complete team effort as five different players scored during the 17-0 run before Federici got into the paint for a layup. Haverford's lead in the opening half grew to as many as 22 points, 31-9, when Cork was done at the free throw line after coming up with a block on the defensive end. The Fords carried a 31-13 lead into the locker room.
Haverford continued to hold a double figure lead for the first 10-plus minutes of the second half before the Diplomats got their deficit down to single figures. Nevertheless, the Fords got a layup from Sam Stogdon and three-pointer from Jonathan Lang to make it an 11 point game, 47-36, with 6:39 to play.
The Diplomats took another chunk out of the lead with an 8-0 run to bring the game within a single possession before Garnes got to the free throw line and knocked down both of his attempts. However, the Diplomats scored on their next three possessions to tie the game at 49-all with 3:06 left in regulation.
Both teams had multiple chances down the stretch, but once again it was the defenses that prevailed. When the game crossed into overtime, the Diplomats took their first lead of the contest when Federici connected on a jump shot. F&M went on to score nine of the first 11 points in the extra time during the eventual 64-57 win.
Today's contest marked just the second overtime meeting between Haverford and Franklin & Marshall in their 94th game against each other. That last such occasion came in 2005 when the Fords prevailed with a 74-70 victory during the first season inside the Gooding '84 Arena.
Men's basketball will be back on the road this coming Thursday, January 26 when the team travels to Ursinus. Flipping the script, it will be the men who tip-off at 6 p.m. on Thursday with the women's game to follow at 8 p.m.