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Men's Basketball Can't Catch PSU-Harrisburg, Falls 76-71

Joe Wujciak
Joe Wujciak

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Haverford College men's basketball team suffered its first setback of the 2019-20 season on Saturday, a 76-71 loss at Penn State-Harrisburg. Like they had done in their first two victories, the Fords (2-1) looked poised for a second half comeback against the Nittany Lions (3-1), but the hosts were just slightly better and were able to hold off Haverford's late charge.

Joe Wujciak and Jesse Turkson led Haverford as both players finished with 14 points. Wujciak nearly claimed a double-double, finishing his afternoon with eight rebounds. Turkson collected four boards and four steals. Jonathan Lang added 11 points while Haverford's bench outscored the Nittany Lions 23-18. Donyae Baylor-Carrol led Penn State Harrisburg's scoring efforts with 25 points. Dylan Daniel finished with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds in the victory.

Trading the lead early, the Nittany Lions ran off the game's first seven points. Nevertheless, the Fords answered with eight straight of their own. Continuing the theme of a balanced offense in the early part of the year, Haverford's first seven baskets were scored by seven different players. A three-pointer from Grayson Roth put the Fords back in front while two more triples from Ryan Trotter and Lang gave Haverford its largest lead of the half, 17-11.

Just when it looked as though the Fords had all the momentum leaning in their direction, Haverford went cold from the field and was held without a field goal until the 2:25 mark of the first half. That dry stretch allowed PSU Harrisburg to open a seven-point lead before the hosts eventually took a 35-31 lead into the locker room.

Haverford came out of the locker room with a renewed sense of urgency and scored six of the first eight points to start the second half. A layup from Turkson tied the game at 37-all, but the Fords could never reclaim the lead. A three-pointer from Jackson Ryan, who was making this season debut, set the score at 45-44 with 14:21 left in regulation time, but a quick 8-0 run from the Nittany Lions put the Fords back in comeback mode.

Ryan's second three-pointer of the afternoon made the game a one-possession difference, but the hosts were able to build their advantage back up to double digits, 69-59, with 3:50 to play. Haverford's rally seemed to be frustrating the Nittany Lions as another basket beyond the arc from Joe Hartman made the score 74-71 with just four seconds remaining. With the Fords forced to foul on the inbounds play, the Nittany Lions secured the victory with a pair of free throws in the remaining seconds for the 76-71 victory.

Haverford had held a double-digit edge in rebounding during each of the team's first two victories, but today it was the Nittany Lions that had a 42-29 advantage on the boards. In another uncharacteristic statistic from the early part of the season, Haverford and PSU Harrisburg both finished with 13 points at the free throw line despite the Fords having six more attempts from the charity stripe.

Men's basketball will look to shake off this result when the Fords return home next Saturday for a 3 p.m. tip against Sarah Lawrence. That game will be preceded by the women's Centennial Conference opener at 1 p.m. against Ursinus. Men's basketball opens its conference slate on Tuesday, November 26 against Ursinus.