December 30, 2011

Shoremen Rally To Capture Tournament Title In 69-65 Win Over Carthage

Cunningham Nets Career-High 15 Points In Victory

THOUSAND OAKS, CA – Washington College sophomore forward Kevin Cunningham (Mt. Laurel, NJ/Lenape) scored a career-high and team-best 15 points as Washington College downed Carthage, 69-65, to take home Thrivent Financial For Lutherans Tournament Championship, hosted by Cal Lutheran, at the Gilbert Center in non-conference men's basketball action.  The Shoremen improve to 7-5 on the season with the win in the championship game, while the Redmen drop to 6-5. 

Senior guard Kevin Breslin (Hagerstown, MD/St. Maria Goretti) was named the tournament's most outstanding player and was joined on the all-tournament team by senior guard Sal Schittino (Ellicott City, MD/Loyola Blakefield).

With Carthage up 55-53 with 6:41 to go in the second half following a three-pointer by Nick Bauch, Cunningham would knot the score at 55-55 with 5:36 remaining in the game on a layup.  After each team made one free throw, senior forward Adam Naymick (Hanover, PA/Delone Catholic) sank a jumper in the paint to put WC up 58-56 with 3:59 left in the second half.  Olsen would push the lead to 60-56 with 2:53 remaining in the contest on a driving layup.  Malcom Kelly countered with two free throws to cut the Shoremen lead to 60-58 just 15 seconds later.  Olsen would make one free throw to give Washington a 61-58 lead with 2:28 left, but Kelly netted two from the stripe with 2:08 remaining to cut the lead to 61-60.  Following a WC miss, Cary made one-of-two from the line to knot the game at 61-61 with 1:56 remaining.  Junior forward Tony Hawkins (Mt. Ephraim, NJ/Haddon Township) put the Shoremen back on top, this time for good, at 63-61 with 73 seconds left on a driving layup.  The Shoremen recorded a steal by Cunningham on the next Carthage possession and turned it into a basket by Breslin with 1:03 to go.  After Carthage missed two from the foul line, Breslin was fouled and canned two from the charity stripe to put Washington up 67-61 with 31 seconds left.  After a tip-in by Mitch Thompson cut the lead to 67-63 with 22 ticks to go, Breslin was fouled again and made both free throws to give WC a six-point lead at 69-63 with 20 seconds left.  Kelly would make two free throws for the Redmen with nine seconds left to cut it to 69-65.  WC inbounded the ball and was able to elude the Carthage defense and ran out the clock to capture the tournament crown.

In the first half, Carthage raced out to a 23-12 lead with 9:00 left in the half on a triple bucket by Max Cary with 10:07 left in the first that completed a 15-4 run after the two squads were tied 8-8 with 15:46 remaining in the half following a free throw by Washington's Cunningham. The Redmen would eventually take a 31-17 lead with 3:36 to go in the opening half on an Antwan Hill layup after he stole the ball.  Carthage would take a 35-25 lead into the locker room at halftime.

In the second half, Mitch Thompson converted a traditional three-point play just 64 seconds into the half to put the Redmen up 40-26.  The Shoremen responded with a 17-2 run to turn a 14-point Carthage lead into a 43-42 Washington lead with 12:33 left on a layup by senior center Max Finch (Medford, NJ/Shawnee).  However, Carthage would answer with an 8-2 spurt to reclaim the lead at 50-45 with 10:47 to go in the contest on a Bauch lay-in.  The Shoremen answered with an 8-2 run of their own to take a 53-52 lead with 6:58 to go on a layup by senior forward Chris Olsen (Ellicott City, MD/Mount St. Joseph).  However, Bauch answered on the next possession with a three-pointer to put Carthage back up 55-53 with 6:41 left in the game.

Breslin added 13 points and handed out a team-high five assists, while Olsen added 11 points.  Naymick grabbed a team-best eight rebounds.  WC shot 40% from the floor, 25% from behind the arc and 64% (14-for-22) from the foul line. 

Mitch Thompson had a double-double with game-bests of 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Redmen.  Kelly added 16 points and Donte Logan dished out seven helpers to lead all players.  Carthage shot 45% from the floor, 30% from three-point land and 48% (12-for-25) from the charity stripe. 

Carthage had a 44-36 edge in rebounds, but committed 22 turnovers, while Washington had only 11.  The Shoremen turned the 22 miscues into 23 points, while the Redmen scored 15 points off of turnovers.  Carthage held the edge in second-chance points (13-11) and fast-break points (10-2), while Washington had the edge in bench points (15-13) and points in the paint (38-36). 

Washington will return to action on Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. against visiting Gettysburg in Centennial Conference action at the Cain Athletic Center.

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