HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's basketball team was stunned by Elizabethtown on Tuesday evening with a 75-72 setback inside the Gooding '84 Arena. The Fords (2-3) led the Blue Jays (1-3) by as many as 23 points with 13:29 remaining in regulation before the visitors went on a 34-6 run to steal the lead right out from under the Fords.
Even after that extended run, which gave the Blue Jays a 70-65 lead, Haverford came back with five straight points from Jonathan Lang to knot the score with 1:37 left in regulation. Lang finished the night with 24 points, just one shy of his career best set in the regular season finale last year against Johns Hopkins. The two teams traded baskets to set the score at 72-all before Elizabethtown's Connor Moffatt, who finished with 23 points, hit a layup in the paint to give his team the lead with 33 seconds showing on the game clock.
The Blue Jays were unable to salt the game away at the free throw line, but took care of things defensively in the final seconds by forcing a pair of turnovers and watching a bid at the game-tying three go off target as time expired in the 75-72 final.
Believably so with a 20-plus point advantage in the second half, the Fords led for nearly 32 minutes on Tuesday, while the Blue Jays held the lead just under four minutes in total. Haverford built a 43-26 lead in the opening half behind a 45.2% shooting mark during the first 20 minutes. That hot start included a 6-of-11 half from beyond the arc with Joe Hartman and Lang both knocking down a pair of triples. On the other hand, the Blue Jays were an ice cold 0-for-7 from distance in the first half.
Haverford's offense featured six and eight point runs on two different occasions in the opening period. However, the Fords really showcased their offensive abilities during a 13-0 run after Elizabethtown had cut the lead to 10 points early in the second half. Haverford got two more triples from Lang during that stretch, while Kahlil Garnes hit from downtown to close the run. The Fords' largest run of the night featured eight total points from Lang. Leading 57-34 with 14:08 to play after the three ball from Garnes, Haverford matched its largest lead of the night when Jesse Turkson came free in the paint for two more points to make the score 59-36.
Outside of that huge run from the visiting Blue Jays, Haverford was 10-of-16 from beyond the arc in the contest. However, those eight straight empty attempts at three loomed large during the momentum swing as Elizabethtown went 6-of-8 from three during that same stretch. Those 18 points on eight attempts, combined with nothing from the Fords, almost totally accounted for the swing that propelled Elizabethtown into the lead.
Lang did break that skid on his fifth and final three-pointer of the evening with just over two minutes remaining to get his team back within a single possession. He then came up with a steal and fed Joe Scibelli for the game-tying basket just two possessions later, knotting the score at 70. After each side gave a possession away, the teams traded layups with the Blue Jays scoring last in that sequence to hold a two point lead. They would go just 1-of-4 at the charity stripe in the final minute, but held up defensively to secure the win.
In addition to Lang's game-high 24 points, Garnes and Scibelli finished in double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Hartman added nine points on the night and dished out four of the team's 16 assists. Both teams gathered 33 rebounds on the evening, with Sam Stogdon pulling down a team-best nine boards for the Fords.
Men's basketball will now have a quick turnaround to shake off tonight's heartbreaking defeat as the Fords host Washington College during Thursday's Centennial Conference action. That game will tip at 7 p.m. inside the Gooding '84 Arena.