Second-half surge carries Bullets past Muhlenberg, to top seed

Gettysburg outscored Muhlenberg 45-17 after halftime to pull away and secure a 79-53 victory and forge a tie at the top of the final Centennial Conference men’s basketball standings Saturday night at Bream Gymnasium. The victory, coupled with a Johns Hopkins loss, gives the Bullets the top seed in the postseason tournament.

The day started with Gettysburg one game behind Johns Hopkins in the Centennial Conference standings and each with a Saturday night game left to play. As Gettysburg was pulling ahead on its home court, Swarthmore was scoring a game-winning layup in Baltimore with 1.9 seconds remaining to defeat Hopkins, 71-70, thereby giving the Bullets the top seed and hosting rights throughout the league tournament.

gburg bullets

Despite finishing tied for first in the standings, Gettysburg earns the top seed by virtue of its season sweep of Johns Hopkins. The Bullets and Blue Jays will each host a semifinal on Friday. Sunday’s championship game will be played at the highest remaining seed.

Ryan McKeon led the Bullets with 16 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and five blocked shots.
Jordan Stafford added 16 points of his own to go with five rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Akim Joseph added 15 that included a pair of show-stopping dunks 30 seconds apart to put the exclamation point on the game. He also blocked three shots. Jayson Williams-Johnson led the Muhlenberg with 16 points.

The first half featured five ties and 11 lead changes. Neither team held a lead larger than three points until three different Mules accounted for a 7-0 run that gave the visitors a 27-22 lead with 5:56 to play in the half. Two free throws from Nate Willi and an Aidan Mess layup closed the margin to one just 50 seconds later, but Muhlenberg pushed the lead back out to five. Trailing 33-28, Ray Zamloot canned a 3-pointer, and then Jordan Stafford hit from deep for a 34-33 lead with 25 seconds left. Giovanni Rubino just got off a 3-pointer from the top of the arc that was ruled good on the floor, then stood as called after a lengthy video review for the two-point halftime lead.

Williams-Johnson extended the lead to four with 18:20 on the clock, but Ryan McKeon responded with a dunk, sparking the Bullets to a 13-0 burst over the next four minutes. Stafford and McKeon combined for 10 of the 13 points. The run extended to 20-4 on an Akim Joseph traditional three-point play that made it a 54-42 game with 11:22 to play. Leading 63-47 with the shot clock running low, Joseph drove baseline and slammed it home with 5:36 to play before then getting a steal on the other end and taking it all the way for another jam 30 seconds later for a 67-47 lead. Williams-Johnson finally snapped a 6-minute, 25-second drought from the floor with a layup at the 4:46 mark. A McKeon putback with 3:48 remaining made it 71-51, and the lead didn’t dip under 20 the rest of the way.

With Dickinson’s victory over Ursinus, the Red Devils forced a play-in game against Muhlenberg for the sixth and final playoff spot. That game will take place on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Allentown, with the winner advancing to Wednesday’s first-round game at third-seeded Franklin & Marshall. Swarthmore hosts Ursinus in the other first-round game.

Game time on Friday is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. at Bream Gym.

This story originally appeared on the Gettysburg College website.

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