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Men's Basketball Edged by Franklin & Marshall, 77-75

Joe Wujciak
Joe Wujciak

LANCASTER, Pa. – For the second straight meeting this season, the Haverford College men's basketball team gave Franklin & Marshall everything it could handle. The Fords put themselves in position to knock down the game-winning three-pointer in the final seconds and had a second chance at a tie off the rebound. Unfortunately for the Fords, both of those attempts were just off the mark as the Diplomats came away with a 77-75 victory on their home court.

During a game in which Haverford led for nearly 10 minutes, the Fords were not going to go away quietly despite the Diplomats holding a game-high 11 point lead with just 4:26 to play in regulation. F&M gained that late edge with a 14-3 run, but Haverford countered with back-to-back treys from Joe Wujciak and Jonathan Lang. Wujciak, who was 5-of-7 from the field in the second half, later got his team within three points after a layup at the 1:27 mark.

With the pressure on to make its free throws, F&M went 1-for-2 at the line during each of the next four times Haverford fouled. That finally allowed Kahlil Garnes to knock down a triple of his own with 29 seconds to play, making the game just a two-point contest. The Diplomats made both ends at the charity stripe on the ensuing possession, but Wujciak answered that with another Haverford triple to set the score at 76-75 with just 9.8 seconds to play. A final 1-for-2 trip at the line from the Diplomats set the Fords up for a chance at victory, but a three-pointer was offline before Wujciak's rushed put back at the buzzer just rimmed out on a shot that would have forced an overtime session.

Haverford asserted itself early in the game by racing out to a 17-10 lead just over six minutes into the contest. A back-and-forth opening half saw the lead change hands three times and was tied on five other occasions before the Diplomats went on a 10-0 run that spanned into the second half. Haverford completely erased its first 11 point deficit of the afternoon and had the game tied at 50-all with 9:36 to play. That came right before Franklin & Marshall's second big surge of the game which ultimately led to the thrilling finish.

The Fords showed great balanced scoring as seven different players scored at least six points. Garnes led the Fords with 16 points, while Wujciak was right behind him with 15 points. Joe Scibelli poured in 13 points and came down with six rebounds, while Jesse Turkson just missed a double-double with a game-high 13 boards to go along with his eight points. Joe Hartman, Lang, and Jack Cork also figured prominently into Haverford's offense throughout the day. Cork was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field in his six-point outing.

Haverford and F&M finished with the same number of baskets from the field as the Diplomats took just one more shot. The Fords were a solid 9-of-20 from beyond the arc to counter a 7-of-16 afternoon from the hosts. Nevertheless, the Diplomats made up that margin by outscoring Haverford by four points at the line. However, they needed 15 more attempts to do so. Haverford capped its day 14-of-17 at the charity stripe. The Fords also held the rebounding advantage, 42-36. Haverford has now out-rebounded its opponents during 13 of its 17 contests, tying with Johns Hopkins in rebounds recently. The Fords have won the battle on the boards in eight of their last nine contests, with the even final count against JHU being the only exception in that span.

Men's basketball will be back on the road next week for two more Centennial Conference matchups. Up first will be a quick trip to rival Swarthmore on Thursday, January 24. The Garnet are currently ranked 10th in the latest national polls and are the only team Haverford has not seen yet in the conference. The men's portion of the Hood Trophy doubleheader will follow the women's game (6 p.m.) and get underway at 8 p.m.