HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's basketball team gave visiting Franklin & Marshall all it could handle on Wednesday evening. Unfortunately for the Fords (3-5, 1-3 CC), the Diplomats (6-2, 3-1 CC) made one more play as they knocked down a three-pointer with 30 seconds remaining to escape Gooding Arena with a 63-60 victory.
Joe Scibelli recorded his fifth double-double of the season as he willed the Fords back into the game with 22 points and 10 rebounds with F&M leading by as many as 14 points midway through the contest. The Fords' senior scored 16 of those points during the second half while classmate Kahlil Garnes scored seven of his 11 points during the final 20 minutes. Jesse Turkson also scored 12 points for the Fords. Franklin & Marshall had three players in double figures, led by Justin Kupa's 14-point night.
Showing senior leadership early, Scibelli and Garnes got the Fords out in front with four of the game's first six points. Franklin & Marshall took a five-point edge during the early parts of the opening half on two separate occasions. Garnes and Turkson cut those leads down to a single point on the first such occasion. Scibelli took matters into his own hands after another mini spurt from the visitors. Lang helped get the Fords back within a point as he knocked down his three-pointer before a layup from Scibelli gave the Fords a 19-18 lead with 9:43 remaining in the opening half.
Shortly after the Fords recaptured the lead, Franklin & Marshall looked to be taking control of the contest with a 21-6 run that gave the Diplomats a 39-25 lead before the break. Lang connected on another jumper before the break to set the score at 39-27 as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
Franklin & Marshall matched its largest lead of the night, 14 points, with the first basket of the second half. Right after that basket, Haverford slowly but surely began to trim its deficit and climb back into the contest. An old-fashioned three-point play from Scibelli started an 11-2 run that cut the lead to five, 43-38, with 16:26 to play. Garnes capped that run with a swipe on the defensive end and another and-one conversion in transition. Joe Hartman also knocked down a triple during that scoring barrage for the hosts.
The Diplomats bumped their lead back up to nine points, but Haverford answered with an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to a single point. That run got Haverford within a single possession as the Fords outscored Franklin & Marshall by a 21-10 margin in just under nine minutes of playing time to start the half. After some more back-and-forth play, the Fords took the lead for the first time since the opening minutes when Scibelli got free in the paint and followed his own rebound for a tip-in to make the score 58-57 with 3:49 to play. That basket came just over 30 seconds after his triple before the four-minute mark.
F&M tied the game at the free throw line and took a lead with 2:37 to play on a layup from Matt Groll. However, a stingy Haverford defense kept the Diplomats off the scoreboard on the next two possessions and allowed Scibelli to get to the charity stripe and knock down a pair of free throws with 54.5 seconds to play. Those two points tied the game at 60-all. Les Thomas answered those latest Haverford points for the Diplomats as he knocked down a three-pointer with 30 seconds to play, giving Haverford one last chance at the victory.
Taking a timeout with nine seconds remaining to set up the offense, the Fords got a good look as a solid pump fake put the Franklin & Marshall defense out of the play, but the three-point attempt rolled off the right side of the iron. Haverford quickly fouled and had one final chance as the Diplomats missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with just over a second to play. However, a three-quarters court heave was off the mark as the Diplomats held on for the 63-60 victory.
Both teams made 25 field goals on the night, but it took the Fords eight less attempts to do so as they shot just over 48 percent on the evening. Haverford also held Franklin & Marshall scoreless on its first eight attempts from beyond the arc before the Diplomats' first triple dropped in during the final seconds of regulation. The Diplomats also had a six-point advantage at the free throw line despite both teams shooting 66.6 percent.
Other notable performances on the evening came from Kyle Goldfarb as he dished out a team-high four assists, while Jack Cork was a force in the paint with four blocked shots. Hartman and Turkson both came up with three steals on the defensive end.
After three straight home Centennial Conference contests, the Fords will head out on the road this Saturday as they travel to Washington College for a 1 p.m. start. Flipping the traditional order of games, the men's game will precede the women's contest which is slated for a 3 p.m. start against the Shorewomen.