Gettysburg punches semifinal ticket with big first half

THE SKINNY STORY
Gettysburg shot 56.3 percent in the first half to build a 20-point lead and kept Franklin & Marshall at arm’s length in the second half for a 71-51 win in the Centennial Conference tournament first-round game.

THE LEADERS
• Jordan Stafford (Galloway, N.J./St. Joseph Hammonton) led the Bullets with 17 points and nine rebounds.
• Carl Schaller (Garnet Valley, Pa./Garnet Valley) added 15 points, five rebounds and four assists.

FOR THE FOES
• Vakaris Grauslys led the Diplomats with 15 points and six steals.
• Josh Parra added 10 points and six rebounds.

THE REST OF THE STORY
• Trailing 6-2 after back-to-back John Seidman layups, Jordan Stafford took over and went on a personal 8-0 run in a 1-minute, 45-second span. Franklin & Marshall closed to within one three times before a Stafford layup on a Carl Schallerrebound and outlet made it a 16-13 with 9:36 showing and ignited a 24-6 run in which the Bullets connected on 11 of their 18 shots. Schaller had 10 points during the game-changing stretch that made it a 40-19 game in the final minute of the first half. A single Omar Nichol free throw made it an even 20 at the break. The defense held the Diplomats to 2 of 11 over the same stretch and forced four turnovers.   
• Driving layups from Seidman and Vakaris Grauslys in the first 2:15 of the second half trimmed the deficit to 16. Gettysburg, however, responded with eight of the next 10 points to stretch the advantage to 48-26. Franklin & Marshall got no closer than 17 the rest of the way.

THE INSIDE STORY
• Ryan McKeon (Landenberg, Pa./Sanford [Del.]) led the way on the glass for the Bullets, securing 10 rebounds as part of a 52-33 advantage.
• It was the first conference tournament win for Gettysburg since a 68-56 win over McDaniel in the opening round on Feb. 24, 2016.
• The Bullets shot 49.2 percent for the game and held Franklin & Marshall to 32.1 percent.
• Elijah Williams (Washington, D.C./Sidwell Friends) finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

NEXT UP
Gettysburg advances to the semifinals at No. 15 Swarthmore, the second seed in the tournament on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m.

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