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Men's Basketball Taken Down in Centennial Semifinals

Joe Hartman
Joe Hartman

SWARTHMORE, Pa. – The Haverford College men's basketball team made its first playoff appearance in nine seasons on Friday night in the Centennial Conference semifinals against No. 8 Johns Hopkins. Seeded third entering the tournament after one of the best regular seasons in school history, the Fords were denied once again by the second-seeded Blue Jays and fell by a 70-52 score.

Jesse Turkson led the Fords with a double-double in the season finale as he scored 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Seniors Jack Cork and Joe Hartman added seven points in their final collegiate contests. Conner Delaney led the nationally-ranked Blue Jays with 20 points while running mate Tom Quarry added 14 points.

Haverford had the Johns Hopkins offense on lockdown early on as the Fords let in just one field goal during the first 8:57 of playing time. That defensive pressure allowed the Fords to jump out to a 9-2 edge as Ryan Trotter knocked down a three-pointer in the early minutes while Jackson Ryan, Cork, and Turkson all did their work in the paint.

Despite holding the Blue Jays to just 1-of-11 shooting over nearly nine minutes of game action, Johns Hopkins eventually regained its shooting touch and closed the half by going 13-for-21 over the final 11 minutes. Haverford held a share of the lead all the way up until a three-pointer from Ethan Bartlett knotted the game at 11 with 8:45 remaining in the first. Even with that initial surge, Haverford trailed just 17-15 following a layup from Trotter at the 6:49 mark of the opening period. Nevertheless, the Blue Jays closed the final minutes before the break on a 13-0 run to hold a 30-15 advantage after 20 minutes.

That late run would ultimately prove too big of a hole for the Fords to climb out of in the remaining 20 minutes. A quick 6-0 spurt which featured a pair of layups from Turkson, along with a layup from Josh Radin, trimmed the deficit down to 14 points, 35-21, with just over 17 minutes to play. Nevertheless, that was the closest the Fords would come the rest of the night as Johns Hopkins finished the game shooting nearly 50% from the field despite Haverford's stingy defensive performance during the first half.

Although tonight's result brings the 2019-20 Haverford College men's basketball season to a close, the Fords will still have plenty to look back on with pride as the team's 16 victories were the second most in school history. Only the 1976-77 team, which went 18-8, won more games than this year's Fords.

Tonight's final chapter also caps the careers of seven impactful seniors who completely rose the level and expectations for a Haverford basketball player. Those six players, Jack Cork, Joe Hartman, Jonathan Lang, Grayson Roth, Michael Wiper, and Joe Wujciak, along with the student manger, Matthew Reichwein, were responsible for helping the Fords increase their win total during each of their seasons with the program.