January 28, 2012

Shoremen Scratch Seven-Year Itch At McDaniel In Comeback Victory, 65-62

WC Rallies From Nine-Point Second Half Deficit

WESTMINSTER, MD – Visiting Washington College used a 26-14 run in the final 14:24 of the game to turn a 48-39 deficit into a 65-52 win over host McDaniel at the Gill Center in Centennial Conference men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon.  The Shoremen improve 13-6 overall and 9-3 in the conference, while the Green Terror slip to 7-12 and 4-8 respectively.  It was Washington's first win at McDaniel since a 71-64 win on January 26, 2005 and snaps a six-game losing streak at the Gill Center.

WC is now 7-1 in games decided by five points or less and has won five in a row, four of which have come on the road.  It is also Washington's first regular season sweep of McDaniel since the 2004-05 season.

With the score tied at 53-53 with 6:17 to go, senior guard Sal Schittino (Ellicott City, MD/Loyola Blakefield) put the Shoremen up for the first time in the contest with 4:33 remaining in the second half when he canned a three-pointer to put WC up 56-53.  After two Louis Sarras-Grau free throws cut the lead to 56-55, senior forward Chris Olsen (Ellicott City, MD/Mount St. Joseph) netted a lay-in to put the lead back to 58-55 with 4:00 left in the second.  Evan Pupelis connected on a layup with 2:59 left to reduce the visitors' lead to 58-57, but sophomore forward Kevin Cunningham (Mt. Laurel, NJ/Lenape) answered with a layup with 2:34 to go to make it 60-57.  After a missed layup by McDaniel, Schittino nailed a trifecta to make it 63-57 with 1:52 left.  Cullen Murray-Kemp made a layup with 1:31 to go to cut the lead to 63-59.  After an offensive foul on the Shoremen, Andrew Merlo sank a triple with 45 ticks left to cut the WC lead to 63-62.  After a miss by senior guard Kevin Breslin (Hagerstown, MD/St. Maria Goretti) with 11 seconds remaining, Olsen was able to tie up a McDaniel player with the ball and the possession arrow favored the Shoremen with seven seconds left.  Schittino was fouled on the inbounds pass and made both from the foul line with seven ticks to go.  The Green Terror's chance to send it to overtime was no good as Merlo's three was off the mark and Washington completed the comeback victory.

The Green Terror opened up a 10-4 lead just 4:37 into the game on a tip-in by Phillip Perry.  The Shoremen countered with a 7-3 run of their own to cut the lead to 13-11 with 12:57 to go in the first half on a jumper by Schittino.  McDaniel would respond with a 13-5 spurt to take a 26-16 lead with 6:55 left in the first on a Perry bucket.  Undeterred, the Shoremen scored eight of the next 10 points to trim the Green Terror lead to 28-24 with 4:34 to go in the stanza on a traditional three-point play by Breslin.  The Green Terror would score nine of the final 15 points of the opening half to take a 37-30 lead into the intermission.  Sarras-Grau had 16 points in the first half for the hosts, while Breslin had 11 points for the visitors.

In the second half, the Shoremen went on a 9-4 in the first 3:58 of the second, capped on a three-pointer by Schittino to trim the McDaniel cushion to 41-37.  McDaniel would get the lead back to nine points at 48-39 with 14:24 to go in the game on a Perry lay-in.  The Shoremen would trim the lead to 49-46 with 10:03 remaining in the contest on a layup by sophomore forward Kevin Cunningham (Mt. Laurel, NJ/Lenape).  The Shoremen would tie the game at 53-53 on a Breslin jumper with 6:17 left. 

Breslin and Cunningham had 15 points each to lead the Shoremen, while Schittino added 13 points as he made 3-of-4 from three-point range.  Cunningham, who matched his career-high in points, and Schittino both scored 11 points in the second half for the victors.  Senior center Max Finch (Medford, NJ/Shawnee) had a career-best 10 rebounds to lead Washington, six of which came on the offensive glass.  Breslin had four assists to lead the team.  The Shoremen shot 37% from the floor, 50% from three-point range and 76% (22-for-29) from the foul line.

Sarras-Grau had a game-high 19 points to lead McDaniel, while Tyler Rudd had a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 12 boards.  Christopher Cowles had six assists to lead all players.  The hosts shot 36% from the floor, 45% from behind the arc and 65% (15-for-23) from the charity stripe.  The Green Terror held a 43-37 edge on the boards.

Washington turned it over 11 times, while McDaniel turned it over 15 times.  The Green Terror had 10 turnovers in the second half. 

The Shoremen return to action on Wednesday night with an 8:00 p.m. game against visiting Haverford in conference play.