ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Haverford College men's basketball team led Muhlenberg for over 35 minutes in its bid to keep pace in the Centennial Conference playoff hunt. The Fords jumped out to a huge lead early and led by as many as 18 points, but Muhlenberg chipped away at the Haverford lead all night and scored the final nine points of regulation to claim a 67-64 win over the Fords.
Joe Scibelli finished with another monster double-double as he scored a game-high 24 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. Fellow senior Kahlil Garnes lit it up from distance during the opening half and finished with 18 points, while Jesse Turkson also added a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Muhlenberg had four players finish in double figures, including 24 points to match Scibelli from Matt Gnias off the Mules' bench.
For the second straight game, Haverford absolutely blitzed the opposition in the opening minutes as the Fords led 21-3 just under 10 minutes into the game. Scibelli scored 11 points during that opening run, while Garnes connected on his first three trey attempts of the contest. Haverford also pounded the glass early and often, finishing the game with twice as many rebounds as the Mules (54-27). That rebounding advantage included 20 offensive boards throughout the night which led to a 16-1 Fords advantage in second chance points over the course of the game.
Slowly, but surely, Muhlenberg crept back into the contest. A 12-0 run from the Mules brought the game within a single point, 30-29, with 2:27 to play in the opening half. Garnes stopped that stretch for the time being with his fourth three-pointer of the opening half, but the Mules eventually took the lead off of a Haverford turnover. Nevertheless, the Fords had one more offensive rebound in them during the first half and earned one final play with four-tenths of a second remaining in the half. Scibelli converted that opportunity into a turnaround jumper attempt that beat the buzzer and sent the teams to the locker room tied at 35.
Scibelli also opened the scoring in the second half as the Fords did not trail again until the final two minutes of regulation time. Haverford's lead grew to as many as nine points during the second half as Kyle Goldfarb knocked down a pair of free throws with 5:55 on the clock, setting the score at 62-53.
However, Haverford went cold from the field at the worst possible time as the Fords only got two more free throws from Scibelli the rest of the way. That allowed Muhlenberg to close the game on 14-2 run and claim a 67-64 Centennial Conference victory. The Fords battled right up until the end and had a shot to force overtime after the Mules made just one of their two free throws with four seconds remaining. However, that final attempt from beyond the arc was off the mark as the final buzzer sounded.
Men's basketball will be back out on the road this Saturday as the team treks to McDaniel for a 3 p.m. tip in Westminster. The Fords will be looking for their second straight season sweep of the Green Terror when that contest gets underway at 3 p.m. Haverford won 89-64 when these teams met inside Gooding Arena in early January.