HAVERFORD, Pa. – Despite a nearly three-week layoff, the Haverford College men's basketball team picked up right where it left off before the break as the Fords (9-1) notched a 70-61 victory over Delaware Valley on Friday. Haverford nearly doubled up the visiting Aggies in the opening half before cruising to the victory and avenging another one of its defeats from a season ago.
Dhruv Mehrotra was huge in the opening half for the Fords as he knocked down five of his seven shots from beyond the arc. Mehrotra led the team with 17 points, scoring all but three of those in the opening half. Jonathan Lang joined him in double figures with 15 points while Jesse Turkson scored eight points and collected nine rebounds. Eleven different Fords found their way into the scoring column as that balanced attack overcame a game-high 26 points from Delaware Valley's Mike Cianciulli.
Despite the sizeable advantage at the end of the first half, it was the visiting Aggies that got off to a quick start as they led 11-4 just under five minutes into the contest. However, head coach Patrick Doherty took a timeout to settle down his side and the Fords responded by ending the half on a 47-15 run.
Mehrotra got the offense flowing for the Fords as he hit a three-pointer and another jumper on back-to-back possessions to get the early deficit down to a single possession. The Aggies were able to push their lead back to six, but the Fords answered with 10 straight points to take a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the night.
Michael Wiper started the 10-0 run with an old-fashioned three-point play before Jackson Ryan capped that span with a steal on the defensive end before finding Joe Hartman for two more points. Delaware Valley made the most of a second chance opportunity to break that run; however, the Fords came right back with 13 more points to extend the stretch to a 23-2 advantage over a span of eight minutes. Back-to-back triples from Mehrotra gave the Fords a 15-point lead, 32-17, with just over seven minutes remaining before the break.
Fittingly enough, Haverford put an exclamation point on its strong first half by scoring the final 12 points before the half. Another and-one from Lang got the Fords started before treys from Ryan and Mehrotra helped Haverford carry a 51-26 lead into the locker room. The Fords finished the first half shooting 62.5% from the field.
Haverford pushed its advantage all the way to 27 points, 64-37, with 11:55 remaining in regulation. Nevertheless, Delaware Valley was not going to go away quietly as the Aggies shot nearly 47% from the field in the second half and had the lead to under 10 points with 1:49 showing on the game clock. However, the Fords defense tightened in those final moments and did not allow another point during the eventual 70-61 non-conference victory.
The Fords finished with a slight 32-30 edge in rebounding despite 12 offensive boards from the Aggies. Haverford dished out 13 assists as Ryan Trotter led those efforts with five helpers. Lang came up with four steals on the defensive end to help the Fords hold a 25-7 advantage in fast-break points.
Men's basketball will be back on the road this coming Monday, January 6 for its final non-conference game of the regular season at Immaculata. That contest is set for an 8 p.m. tip. The Fords will also host home Centennial Conference doubleheaders with the women against Washington College (Thursday, Jan.9) and Gettysburg (Saturday, Jan. 11) during the upcoming week's action.