DOYLESTOWN, Pa. – A valiant rally was just inches away from a comeback victory for the Haverford College men's basketball team on Monday evening as the Fords (2-3) fell to Delaware Valley (3-2) on the road by a 62-58 final. With less than 10 minutes to work with, Haverford cut what was a 17 point deficit all the way down to three. The Fords had two different possessions with a chance to tie in the final minute before coming up just shy.
Jesse Turkson had a huge game for the Fords with 16 points and 13 rebounds for his first double-double this season, the fourth of his career. He was joined in double figures by Joe Hartman and Jonathan Lang who each had season highs with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Monday night's game started off with the teams trading the lead back and forth on five occasions during the first five minutes. Turkson gave the Fords an early lead with the opening points. Seniors Kyle Goldfarb and Joe Scibelli also gave Haverford brief leads in the opening moments while both teams looked to solidify an early edge. The Aggies were the first team able to create some distance as they locked down on the defensive end and held Haverford without a field goal for nearly eight minutes during the course of a 16-2 run before Turkson went back to work in the paint.
Not to be outdone, the Fords came roaring back and held Delaware Valley to just one field goal during a 15-6 run that brought the Fords back to within three points just before the half, 27-24. Lang scored six of Haverford's points during that stretch while Turkson added five more. Delaware Valley broke the Fords' comeback bid for the time being by adding two more points at the free throw line in the final minute of the half and carried a 29-24 lead into the locker rooms.
Turkson and Lang continued their assault on the Aggie defense right out of the gates in the second half and had the Fords back within two points on a couple of occasions. Lang's layup off of a feed from Hartman made the score 31-29 with 17 minutes remaining in regulation. Delaware Valley answered that latest charge with its second big run of the night – a 14-0 advantage over the next four minutes – and held a 45-29 lead with 12:53 left in the game.
The host Aggies went up by as many as 17 points midway through the second half before Hartman keyed a 12-0 Haverford run which got the Fords back to within five points, 49-44, with 5:52 to play. The Fords went 4-for-4 from the field, including a three-pointer from Hartman, while adding three more at the charity stripe during that span. Hartman would end up scoring all of his 15 points during the final 11-plus minutes of the game in an attempt to will the Fords back in front. Josh Love scored the other four points for Haverford during that run to help get his side back within striking distance.
Haverford continued to chip away and had the lead down to four points with Turkson adding another basket in the paint, making the score 58-54 with 1:42 to play. Just over a minute later, Scibelli came up with a block on the defensive end and turned that into two points on the fast break. That instant offense in transition had the Fords within a single possession and 34 seconds remaining on the game clock.
Playing defense instead of electing to try and foul, the Fords got a steal from Lang but saw the game-tying attempt from beyond the arc glance off the rim with 11 seconds to play. Haverford quickly fouled and had another chance for the tie after the Aggies missed the front end of a 1-and-1. Nevertheless, Delaware Valley clamped down on the defensive end one final time and hit a free throw on the other end of the floor with just one second remaining to finally seal its 62-58 victory.
Haverford once again dominated the glass, finishing with a 49-21 advantage in rebounding. That included 23 offensive rebounds which led to a 19-4 advantage in second chance points. Despite shooting a lower percentage, Haverford made one more basket from the field with that large advantage on the glass. The Fords were 14-of-16 at the line, which was nearly 20 percent better than their opponents. However, the Aggies made up for that by scoring four more points at the free throw line despite needing 10 more attempts to do so.
Men's basketball will return to Centennial Conference action later this week as the Fords host both Muhlenberg and Gettysburg. Haverford is set for a 7 p.m. tip with the Mules on Thursday inside Gooding Arena. The Bullets and Fords will play a men's and women's doubleheader this Saturday. The women's game is slated for a 1 p.m. start with the men to follow at 3 p.m.