ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Haverford College men's basketball team fell to Muhlenberg by a 71-50 score in a battle of the third and fourth place teams in the Centennial Conference. The Mules (16-6, 9-6 CC) salvaged a split of the season series with tonight's result as the Fords (16-6, 11-4 CC) successfully defended their home court when these teams met the first time.
Jackson Ryan led the Fords in scoring with 14 points as nine different Haverford players recorded a point in the contest. Muhlenberg started the game off strong from the field as it shot 56.7% during the opening half and never looked back. Spencer Duke led a trio of Muhlenberg players in double figures as he scored 18 points while Dan Gaines and Matt Gnias finished with 13 and 12, respectively.
Muhlenberg began the contest by scoring on four of its first five possessions, but the Fords kept pace early with a three-pointer from Joe Hartman that set the score at 9-8. However, the Muhlenberg offense did not show any signs of slowing down as it followed that hot stretch to start the contest with a 10-0 run that put the Fords in an early 19-8 hole just over seven minutes into regulation. A layup from Jack Cork stopped the run but the Mules countered with a trey on the ensuing possession to match their largest lead of the half.
Haverford got its deficit down to nine points just before the break as Ryan connected from distance before knocking down a pair of free throws to make the score 36-27 with just over a minute left in the opening period. Once again, Muhlenberg had the answer as back-to-back three-pointers from Gaines and Gnias made the score 42-27 at the break. Hitting from all spots on the court, Muhlenberg finished 6-of-13 from beyond the arc during the first half.
The Fords were locked in defensively during the opening minutes of the second half as they held the hot-shooting Mules scoreless for the first 4:48 of the second period with a three-pointer from Ryan and layup from Jesse Turkson cutting the deficit to 42-32. Just when it seemed like Haverford was poised to make a run of its own, the Mules scored 12 of the next 15 points after a layup from Cork to take a 56-37 lead just past the midway point of the half.
That lead was more than enough for the Mules inside their own friendly confines as they cruised to the 71-50 win. In addition to Ryan's 14 points, Turkson added eight points and five rebounds while Nate Torres finished with seven and six, respectively. Joe Wujciak also had a balanced night with five points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
After three straight games on the road, men's basketball will return home this Saturday for a scheduled 3 p.m. tip against McDaniel. That contest will also be Senior Day for the members of the team's senior class which has helped the Fords already clinch a playoff spot for the first time since the 2010-11 season. The men's contest will be preceded by the women tipping off with McDaniel at 1 p.m. inside Gooding Arena.