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Men's Basketball Battles Johns Hopkins in CC Semifinal Preview

Jack Cork
Jack Cork

BALTIMORE, Md. – Playing a Centennial Conference semifinal preview on Saturday, No. 10 Johns Hopkins took down the Haverford College men's basketball team by a 75-56 score. The Blue Jays (22-3, 16-2 CC) and Fords (16-9, 11-7 CC) will now meet again next Friday, February 28 at Swarthmore at 6 p.m. in the Centennial Conference semifinal where a spot in the championship game will be on the line.

Jesse Turkson led the Fords with 23 points on Saturday while Jack Cork added 16. Both players finished with seven rebounds. Turkson's outing was the sixth 20-plus point game of his regular season as he finished seventh in the conference in scoring (14.4 ppg) and second in rebounding (8.1 rpg) for the regular season. Johns Hopkins put three players in double figures, led by Conner Delaney's 17 points.

Haverford held the lead early on with Turkson and Cork combining for the first six points of the contest. However, an 11-0 run just under three minutes into the game gave the host Blue Jays control of the contest after that. The Fords had the contest under a double-digit deficit numerous times throughout the first half, but a three-pointer from Braeden Johnson right before the half made the score 41-29 as the teams headed to the locker rooms. JHU finished the contest with nine made three-pointers on the day.

The Fords trimmed their halftime deficit down to just eight points with a pair of free throws and a layup from Turkson during the first two minutes of the second period. Turkson went on to score 15 of his 23 points during the final 20 minutes of game action as he went 4-for-6 from the field and 7-of-9 at the free throw line during that time.

Nevertheless, the Johns Hopkins defense held Haverford just 2-of-11 from beyond the arc and 36% from the field during the second half as only Turkson was able to get to the free throw line over the final 20 minutes. The defensive effort allowed the Blue Jays to maintain a double-digit lead for the majority of the second half in an eventual 75-56 final.

Haverford will be making its seventh Centennial Conference Tournament appearance all-time when it plays Johns Hopkins this coming Friday. That playoff appearance will be the team's first since the 2010-11 season. Since the conference merged into one division, Haverford's third-place finish matches its highest in Centennial Conference history. The only other time Haverford entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed, the Fords advanced to the 2006-07 championship game.