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Men's Basketball's Strong Second Half Puts Away WAC, 72-51

Jesse Turkson
Jesse Turkson
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HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's basketball team continued its perfect start to Centennial Conference play with a 72-51 win against Washington College on Thursday evening. The Fords (10-2, 5-0 CC) led by two points with just over 13 minutes remaining in regulation before going on an extended 19-2 run over the next six-plus minutes of game action to pull away from the visiting Shoremen.

Although the game was a seemingly close battle throughout much of the second half, the Fords never trailed in the contest. Now included in Haverford's first five conference wins this season are three victories against teams that qualified for the Centennial Conference Tournament a season ago. Haverford's 5-0 record in the conference keeps the Fords tied with rival Swarthmore atop the standings.

Jesse Turkson continued to dominate in Centennial Conference play with a huge 24 point, 14-rebound double-double. Nate Torres was the other Ford to reach double figures with 10 points while three other players finished with eight. Defensively, Haverford held Washington College scoreless on 11 attempts from beyond the arc as the Shoremen shot just 32.7% overall from the field.

Haverford got the early jump with a 10-2 spurt out of the gates, a run that was capped by five points from Turkson and also featured an old-fashioned three-point play. The Fords advantage reached double figures on several occasions in the opening 20 minutes as they were up by 10 with just under four minutes to play in the half. Nevertheless, a late surge from WAC trimmed the Fords lead to just 34-30 after the opening period of play.

Washington College crept slightly closer in the early minutes of the second half and had the game to a single possession difference, 40-38, with 13:16 remaining in regulation before the Fords' epic run to put the game out of reach. Haverford scored the first eight points in the run as Joe Wujciak punctuated that effort with a steal and coast-to-coast basket. The Shoremen were once again within single digits before their head coach was whistled for a technical foul. Haverford made its double-digit lead stick from that point on as a pair of free throws from Wujciak and a  three-pointer from Jackson Ryan ultimately resulted in a five-point possession for Haverford.

The Shoremen were once again called for a bench technical shortly after with Joe Hartman adding another free throw while Turkson poured in another Haverford trey to give the Fords nine points in just two possessions. Up 17 after the two technical fouls, the Fords' lead ultimately grew to a game-high 23 points as Josh Radin got a jumper to go in the paint and later matched that advantage with a pair of free throws during the eventual 72-51 victory.

With Turkson's huge night on the boards leading the way, the Fords finished with a 51-39 advantage on the glass. Haverford snatched 16 offensive rebounds and held a 14-4 advantage in second chance points. The Fords made just one less trip to the free throw line than the Shoremen but scored four more points at the charity stripe as part of a strong 19-of-23 effort. Joe Hartman led those efforts by knocking down six of his seven free throws. Wujciak was one of four Fords with multiple assists as he tallied five on the night while also coming away with three steals.

Men's basketball will continue Centennial Conference action this Saturday, January 11 against Gettysburg. That contest is set for a 3 p.m. tip and will be preceded by the women's game at 1 p.m. against the Bullets.