CAMDEN, N.J. – The Haverford College men's basketball team opened up its 2018-19 season with a 70-62 victory at Rutgers-Camden on Saturday. The Fords (1-0) trailed the Scarlet Raptors 35-25 after the opening half, but immediately took control in the second. Haverford outscored RUC by 45-27 margin over the final 20 minutes of game action to start the season off on a winning note.
Saturday's victory avenges the Scarlet Raptors' 68-62 victory from two seasons ago. Haverford's win was its first in a season opener since the 2014-15 season when the Fords defeated Bard by a 71-63 final during the Equinox Tournament.
Senior Joe Scibelli led all scorers with a game-high 27 points to pace the victors. He was one of three starters to reach double figures in the contest for the Fords. Fellow senior Kahlil Garnes added 13 points, while Jack Cork finished with 11 points. Grayson Roth (7 points) and Jesse Turkson (6 points) also started the season opener.
Scibelli went to work early with the first two points of the season. Despite the score at half, the Fords did not trail until the 12:59 mark of the first when Rutgers-Camden knocked down a jumper to move ahead, 14-13. However, that came during the Fords only real cold spell from the floor the entire afternoon as the Scarlet Raptors went on a 13-1 run to make the score 20-13. A three-pointer from Garnes ended that drought, but RUC carried its newfound lead into the locker room.
Trailing by 10 entering the final 20 minutes of game action, Haverford quickly cut into that deficit with the first nine points of the second half. Scibelli scored seven of the Fords' points during that stretch. However, it was not until a three-pointer from Scibelli at the 12:35 mark of the second half that the Fords were able to tie the game at 41-all. Just a couple of possessions later, Kyle Goldfarb also connected from distance and the Fords would not trail for the remainder of the afternoon.
A jumper from Scibelli and three-pointer from Garnes gave Haverford the lead for good and keyed a 10-0 run in Haverford's favor that even an RUC timeout could not withstand. It was a balanced effort to stretch the lead as four different players scored during that run. Haverford's lead grew to 11 points on two different occasions down the stretch. On each of those occasions, it was Garnes providing the offense. Haverford went up 64-53 with 2:31 remaining in the second half to match its largest lead of the afternoon when Garnes was fouled shooting a three and knocked down each of his attempts at the charity stripe.
Rutgers-Camden never got its deficit below six points for the remainder of the contest as the Fords put the finishing touches on their 70-62 victory. Haverford finished the game shooting over 56% from the floor (25-of-44). The Fords hit eight of their 13 attempts from beyond the arc (61.5%) and did not have a single player miss more than one foul shot the entire afternoon.
Men's basketball will next host its home opener on Wednesday, November 14 when the Fords welcome Penn State Brandywine to Gooding Arena for a 7 p.m. tip. Haverford was a 93-80 winner when these two teams met last season.