Team Advances In CC Tournament To Play At Franklin & Marshall On Friday Night
BALTIMORE, MD – Senior guard Kevin Breslin (Hagerstown, MD/St. Maria Goretti) made the go ahead three-pointer with 58.6 seconds left to put Washington College up for good at 52-51 as the visiting fifth-seeded Shoremen downed host Johns Hopkins, the four seed, on Wednesday evening, 56-53, in the Centennial Conference Men's Basketball Tournament First Round game at Goldfarb Gym. The Shoremen improve to 14-12 with the win and clinch a winning season, while the Blue Jays conclude their campaign at 15-11. WC will travel to top seed and host Franklin & Marshall on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. in Lancaster, PA.
It was the first time the Shoremen topped the Blue Jays in the conference tournament after falling to them in 1998 (60-59) and 1999 (78-52), with 1999 being the conference tournament title game. It was also the team's first road conference tournament win since February 24, 1999 when WC downed F&M, 77-71.
Tim McCarty would sink four free throws in a 39-second span to put the Blue Jays back up 49-48 with 1:50 left in the second half. On the next possession, Breslin was fouled and made one-of-two from the line to tie the game at 49-49 with 1:25 to play. Hopkins' George Burgarinovic was fouled on the next possession and made both from the charity stripe to put the hosts back up two at 51-49 with 1:10 remaining in the contest. On the Shoremen's next possession, Breslin drained a three-pointer with 58.6 seconds left to give WC a 52-51 lead and a lead they would never cough up. On the Blue Jays' next series, Adam Spengler missed a long jumper and the ball went out of bounds in favor of the Shoremen. Senior guard Sal Schittino (Ellicott City, MD/Loyola Blakefield) was fouled on the inbounds pass and made both from the line to put the Shoremen up 54-51 with 28.7 ticks left. Jimmy Hammer missed a game tying three with 16 seconds left and Schittino grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Schittino again cashed in on both free throws with 11.3 seconds left to give the visitors a 56-51 lead. Daniel Corbett of Johns Hopkins made a short jumper at the buzzer to provide the final margin.
In the second half, the Blue Jays led 40-37 with 7:51 left following a Corbett jumper. The Shoremen tied it up on a traditional three-point play by senior forward Chris Olsen (Ellicott City, MD/Mount St. Joseph) at 40-40 with 7:29 remaining in the game. After a three-pointer by Adam Spengler put the hosts up 43-40 with 6:41 to go in the half, the guests countered with a trifecta by Schittino on a pass from Breslin 24 ticks later to knot the contest up at 43-43. Breslin would net a free throw with 5:38 remaining to put WC up 44-43 and then following a missed free throw, he went coast-to-coast on a layup to put the visitors up 46-43 with 5:13 left. After a George Burgarinovic layup cut the lead to 46-45 with 4:50 left, sophomore forward Kevin Cunningham (Mt. Laurel, NJ/Lenape) scored on a putback lay-in with 3:28 to go to give the guests a 48-45 cushion.
The Blue Jays raced out to a 9-2 lead in the first 5:22 of the first half on a Connor McIntyre layup. The Shoremen would go on a 17-5 run to take a 19-14 lead with 5:54 left in the first half on a three-pointer by Schittino. Hopkins would respond with a 9-0 run to take a 23-19 lead on a triple by McCarty with 3:08 to go in the opening half. The hosts would take a 26-25 lead into halftime as two free throws by Alex Pandrangi with seven seconds left in the half closed out the scoring.
Breslin led all players with 17 points and Schittino added 14 points, including making all four free throws in the final 11.3 seconds for WC. Senior center Max Finch (Medford, NJ/Shawnee) grabbed eight rebounds to lead the team and tied for the game-high in blocks with two. Breslin had three assists to lead the victors. Washington shot 35% from the floor, 27% from three-point range and 65% (15-for-23) from the foul line. The Shoremen enjoyed a 24-9 edge in bench points.
Bugarinovic had 14 points to lead the Blue Jays along with a game-high three steals, while McCarty had 13 points and 11 boards for a double-double. Also scoring in double figures for the hosts was Corbett, who netted 10 points and handed out a game-high four assists. Aleksandar Nikolic blocked two shots to tie for tops in the game. Johns Hopkins shot 32% from the floor, 25% from behind the arc and 50% (12-for-24) from the charity stripe. Hopkins had 15 turnovers, while Washington had 14, but the Blue Jays enjoyed a 12-4 edge in points off of turnovers.
The Shoremen have won five in a row on George Washington's Birthday, February 22.
This will be the fourth time Washington, who snapped a six-game losing streak with the win, and F&M have played in the CC Tournament with the Diplomats holding a 2-1 edge. WC won in 1999 (77-71), while F&M won in 2000 (87-85) and 2003 (92-62).