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Men's Basketball Holds Off Gettysburg, 65-63

Jesse Turkson
Jesse Turkson
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GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Jesse Turkson matched his career high with 26 points against Gettysburg and the Fords needed every one of the them as the junior's final two free throws with 5.2 seconds remaining in regulation lifted the Haverford College men's basketball team to a 65-63 win at Gettysburg. The Fords (16-5, 11-3 CC) have now swept the season series against each of the five Centennial Conference teams they have faced a second time after their hard-fought road victory against the Bullets (11-10, 5-8 CC).

When these teams met the first time, Haverford showed off its prowess from deep as the Fords tied a program record with 15 three-pointers. Showcasing its versatility, Haverford ran up a 38-20 advantage on points in the paint and added 10 more at the free throw line. That included a 15-2 edge in second chance points thanks to 13 offensive rebounds for the Fords. Jack Cork grabbed six of those offensive boards on his way to a double-double with 11 rebounds and 10 points. Turkson just missed his double-double with nine boards in his addition to leading all players in scoring.

Haverford led for nearly 25 of the game's 40 minutes thanks in large part to controlling the end of the first half and holding that advantage throughout most of the second. Trading the lead back and forth during the opening minutes, Gettysburg was up 16-12 early. However, the Fords seized momentum with a 13-0 run as they did not allow the Bullets to score for 6:39 of playing time.

During that run, Haverford knocked down six of its next 10 shots to take a 25-16 lead with just over four minutes remaining before the break. Turkson scored five points during that run, capping the stretch with a rare Haverford three-pointer. Cork also added four points during the stretch.  Haverford eventually took its first double figure lead of the afternoon when Joe Wujciak went coast-to-coast late in the half as the Fords carried that 32-22 lead into the halftime break.

Turkson finished the first half with 12 points and eight rebounds, but he was far from done as his layup to start the second period pushed Haverford's lead to a game-high 12 points. The Fords continued to lead all the way up until Gettysburg knotted the score at 45-all with 9:20 remaining in regulation. A layup from Ryan Trotter kept the score in Haverford's favor for the time being, but a 7-0 spurt ensued from Gettysburg to give the hosts their first lead since the midway point of the opening half.

Haverford reclaimed the lead with its only treys of the second half as Jackson Ryan and Nate Torres gave their side a slight 53-52 edge with 6:16 left. The two sides traded the lead, but Wujciak's layup off a steal from Ryan with 4:42 remaining gave Haverford a lead it would not relinquish for the remainder of the regulation. After that basket, the Fords went back to Turkson as he blocked a shot on the defensive end before converting an old-fashioned three-point play on the Fords' ensuing possession. Turkson followed that up with another layup in the paint as Haverford led 60-54 with just over three minutes left.

Nevertheless, the Bullets were not going to give up without a fight as they also find themselves in the midst of the Centennial Conference playoff hunt. Gettysburg trimmed its deficit to 62-61 with 56 seconds to play on a three-pointer from Alex Leder, who was one of four Gettysburg players in double figures and finished with a team-high 18 points. The Bullets ultimately tied the game with 24 seconds to play as Nick Antolini's free throws countered Ryan's point from the charity stripe. With the shot clock turned off, Turkson made one final drive to the basket and drew the contact before knocking down both of his attempts from the line. Gettysburg had a rushed three-pointer from Antolini at the buzzer as they had to go the full length of the court in those remaining 5.2 seconds. Ultimately the rebound fell securely into the arms of Cork as the Fords celebrated their 65-63 triumph.

In addition to Turkson and Cork leading the scoring charge, six different Fords finished with at least six points. Wujciak added eight to go along with his game-high four assists while Torres, Trotter, and Ryan each scored exactly six points.

Men's basketball will now wrap its three-game road trip this coming Wednesday, February 12 at Muhlenberg with an 8 p.m. tip. In a game where the home dates were swapped back in the fall, the Fords won that initial meeting with the fourth-place Mules by a 68-62 score back in December. Haverford will return home next Saturday, February 15 to celebrate Senior Day against McDaniel.