COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Haverford College men's basketball team came out with a strong showing during its Centennial Conference opener on Tuesday night. However, it was host Ursinus (3-2, 1-0 CC) who emerged with a 78-69 victory in the battle of wills against the Fords (2-2, 0-1 CC).
Haverford's double-double machine Joe Scibelli finished with his fourth such effort in as many games this season as he scored 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Kahlil Garnes added 16 points while Michael Wiper had a strong outing with a career-high 13 points. Wiper now has three 10-plus point outings during his career, two of which have come against Ursinus. The host Bears put four players in doubles figures with Eric Williams, Jr. – who recorded his 1,000th career point during the contest – leading the way with 28.
Haverford started the game on fire as the Fords scored on three of their first five possessions. Scibelli got his night started with five of those seven points as the Fords were up 7-2 just under three minutes into the contest. Haverford held that lead until Williams hit a three-pointer at the 15:33 mark. Ursinus built its lead up to as many as 13 points during the opening half.
Joe Hartman snapped Haverford out of its shooting slump with a three-pointer that came with 7:15 remaining in the half. That seemingly lifted the Fords on both ends of the court as Haverford held the host Bears off the scoreboard for 6:10 of playing time before Williams connected on another triple. Right before that latest three from Williams, Hartman's second connection from deep capped the Fords' 12-0 run which also featured four points from Garnes. The senior also had the final say of the opening half as Garnes hit a layup with time expiring as the Bears carried a slim 32-29 lead into the break.
The Fords and Bears traded baskets for the first five minutes of the second half as a jumper from Scibelli made the score 38-35 with 16:49 to play in regulation. Haverford got back within a single point as Jonathan Lang got into the paint at the 15:46 mark. That came as part of a stretch where Haverford held the hosts to without a field goal for nearly five minutes. When that stretch was broken by Williams, the Bears began an 11-0 run that the Fords were unable to recover from. The Fords came as close as seven points on several occasions during the final seven-plus minutes before Ursinus put the finishing touches on its 78-69 victory.
Haverford finished the game with two more field goals as the Fords hit the boards hard and out-rebounded Ursinus by a 38-35 margin. Haverford has now collected more rebounds than the opposition in each of its first four games. The Fords are currently out-rebounding opponents by 8.5 boards per game, the highest margin since the 1976-77 Fords led by Hall of Achievement inductees Dick Voith '77 and Dave Stubbs '77, along with Bill Travis '77 and a host of others. However, the Bears overcame that Haverford advantage by making 19-of-27 free throw attempts while the Fords made just 11 total trips to the charity stripe.
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, the Fords will now have a six day break from competition before returning to game action next Monday, November 26 at Delaware Valley. That week will also see Haverford host Muhlenberg (Thurs., Nov. 29) and Gettysburg (Sat., Dec. 1) in the resumption of Centennial Conference play.