HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's basketball team won its home opener by a 73-66 score against Penn State Brandywine on Wednesday evening inside Gooding Arena. The Fords are now 2-0 on the young season and for the second straight game it was a second half rally that secured the victory. Haverford outscored the Lions (1-2) by a 40-29 margin in the second half, including a 33-18 advantage during the final 15 minutes.
Joe Scibelli recorded a double-double for the second straight game as the reigning Centennial Conference Player of the Week scored 22 points and added 15 rebounds. He was one of three Fords in double figures as Pietro Berghella scored 14 points during his collegiate debut in addition to pulling down six rebounds. Kahlil Garnes added 11 points, eight of which came during the second half of play. Penn State Brandywine was led by Pat Gallagher's 24 points as he went 6-of-8 from beyond the arc to highlight 13 three-pointers from the Lions. Nevertheless, the Fords overcame that with a 27-12 advantage on second chance points. Haverford finished the night with a 52-34 advantage in rebounding, including an 18-8 advantage on the offensive glass.
Right from the start, the Lions were hot from beyond the arc as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead. However, the Fords countered that quick start with a 9-0 run, capped by a Joe Hartman three to give Haverford its first lead of the night. The first half saw the Lions looking to pull away on a couple of occasions, but each time Haverford seemingly had the answer to stay within striking distance. A 10-0 PSU Brandywine run gave the visitors a 20-13 advantage with 8:57 remaining. Haverford rallied to take a 33-31 advantage with 46 seconds remaining in the half, but two more threes from Gallagher in that remaining time sent the Lions to the locker rooms up 37-33.
After the lead changed hands six times during the first half, the two sides found themselves deadlocked on three other occasions throughout the second. The Lions' last big run came after Berghella went to work in the paint, tying the game at 40. PSU Brandywine answered that with eight straight points to go up 48-40 with 15:21 left in regulation time. Nevertheless, Haverford once again had the answer as an old-fashioned three-point play from Berghella tied the score at 50-all with 11:31 remaining.
The teams then traded baskets to make the score 52-all before Haverford went on its big run. The Fords ran off 11 straight points during those four-plus minutes, with seven of those points coming after offensive rebounds. Jesse Turkson proved crucial in those situations as he secured a pair of offensive boards during the run and blocked another shot. The Fords would go on to lead by as many as 13 points, 66-53, with 3:30 to play after Scibelli got back into the paint for two more points.
Hartman's second three-pointer of the evening gave Haverford a 69-58 lead with 1:39 showing on the clock. Nevertheless, the Lions refused to go away quietly and hit back-to-back threes to cap an 8-0 run that set the score at 69-66 with 40 seconds remaining. Scibelli answered that latest surge with his final three points of the evening while both he and Hartman came up with huge blocks on the defensive end to secure the victory.
In addition to the three Fords in double figures, Turkson had a nice game as he scored eight points while pulling down 11 rebounds. Seven of his rebounds came on the offensive end as the sophomore also dished out six of the team's 14 assists. Additionally, Grayson Roth and Michael Wiper came away with five rebounds each in the winning effort.
Men's basketball will be back at home this Saturday for a 2 p.m. tip against Rosemont inside Gooding Arena. That will be Haverford's final tune-up before Centennial Conference play begins in earnest next Tuesday at Ursinus.