HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's basketball team knocked Gettysburg from the ranks of the Centennial Conference unbeatens with a thrilling 72-70 victory on Saturday afternoon. The Fords (3-4, 1-2 CC) handed the Bullets (3-5, 2-1 CC) their first conference defeat of the season after trailing by as many as many 14 points in the opening half. The victory was Haverford's first over Gettysburg since a 69-58 victory inside Gooding Arena during the 2013-14 season.
Haverford dominated the paint during the Centennial Conference victory, outscoring the Bullets 34-8 down low. As has been their reputation this season, the Fords once again hit the glass hard with a 54-38 advantage in rebounding. That edge included a 16-9 advantage in offensive rebounds. Four different players reached double figure points for the Fords. Joe Scibelli led the way with his fourth double-double of the season, and 23rd of his career, scoring a team-high 17 points and pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds. Pietro Berghella scored 12 points in 18 minutes, while Jack Cork and Kahlil Garnes each had 10 in the win.
The Fords faced their largest deficit of the afternoon with just 5:12 to play in the opening half as one of Alec Warren's six three-pointers found the bottom of the net to set the score at 28-14. Warren led all scorers on the day with 18 points. However, the Fords got back into the game right before the half with a 17-5 spurt before heading to the locker rooms. That stretch featured a pair of triples from Joe Hartman, who finished the game with eight points. Garnes brought the Fords within a single possession as he picked Gettysburg's pockets with under a minute to go, turning that into instant offense on the other end. Hartman also connected on a jumper before the half to make the score 33-31 at the break.
The Bullets made their second big run of the afternoon shortly after the halftime break and led by as many as 11 points during the second half. Nevertheless, the Fords let it get no further as they held the visitors without a basket for the next 5:36 of playing time. That defensive lockdown allowed Haverford to score the next 10 points and make the game a one-point contest. Baskets from Scibelli and Jesse Turkson following their own offensive rebounds opened and closed that run which saw the Fords down a point with nearly 10 minutes to work with.
Gettysburg countered with a brief 6-0 run, but four straight baskets in the paint knotted the game for just the second time all afternoon. Tying the game at 60 was Cork as he went back up strong with an offensive board at the 4:10 mark. Cork finished the day with seven rebounds during a busy day in the paint. The two sides ended up tied at 68-all with 1:33 remaining before Turkson got loose for two more points in the paint to answer a pair of Gettysburg free throws. That basket set the score at 70-all with 1:08 remaining on the game clock.
On the ensuing possession, Cork came up with a monster block and the Fords would take their first lead since the opening seconds when Garnes knocked down a jumper in the lane with just seconds remaining. The Bullets had a pair of looks at three during their final two possessions but the Fords defense stood tall in the eventual 72-70 victory.
Men's basketball will now wrap up its three-game homestand next Wednesday with an 8 p.m. tip against Franklin & Marshall. That contest will be preceded by the women's team taking on Muhlenberg at 6 p.m.