Merlo nets 21
SWARTHMORE, Pa. – After a Swarthmore 3-pointer at the buzzer forced overtime, McDaniel scored the first seven points of the extra session and never looked back in a 76-71 Centennial Conference (CC) men's basketball win on Wednesday.
Andrew Merlo (Rehoboth, Del./Cape Henlopen) netted his fourth 20-point game of the season for the Green Terror (13-11, 7-10 CC) with seven of his 21 points coming in overtime. Tyler Rudd (Glen Burnie, Md./Glen Burnie) and Evan Pupelis (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset) also reached double figures with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Pupelis rounded out a double-double performance with 13 rebounds. He also had four assists for McDaniel, which by virtue of a 74-72 Ursinus victory over Washington (Md.) was eliminated from the CC playoff race with one game to play because of tiebreakers. The Green Terror did, however, assure itself a record of at least .500 and are thus eligible for the ECAC tournament, which begins on Feb. 27. That field will be announced on Monday, Feb. 25.
Will Gates led the Garnet (6-18, 5-12 CC) with 29 points and 10 rebounds. The 29 points made him Swarthmore's all-time leading scorer.
After a pair of missed free throws with seven seconds left, Gates grabbed the rebound and dribbled up court before swishing a 30-footer at the buzzer, taking over the all-time scoring lead and forcing overtime.
Directly off an inbounds on McDaniel's first possession of overtime, Phillip Perry (Crownsville, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) found Rudd in front of the basket for a layup and 63-61 lead.
Merlo followed with a 3-pointer and Rudd hit a jumper with 2:45 showing for a 68-61 lead.
Jay Kober and Merlo traded single free throws before Jordan Federer hit a pair with 1:22 on the clock to trim the deficit to five.
Merlo responded with two free throws of his own 10 seconds later, starting a 7-for-8 showing from the charity stripe in the final 1:12 to secure the win.
Tied at 10-all, Joe Keedy hit a layup and Kober canned a triple for a 15-10 lead with 13:30 to play in the first half.
A Wesley Brooks (North Wales, Pa./North Penn) jumper trimmed the deficit to 17-16 before Kober pushed the lead back to three with 9:13 on the clock.
Merlo drained the second of his four 3-pointer 1:35 later to knot the game.
The Garnet reestablished its five-point edge before triples from Rudd and Merlo gave Mcdaniel a 25-24 lead with 4:54 showing.
Trailing 31-29, Merlo was fouled on a 3-point attempt and drained all three attempts with 1:06 to play and Pupelis converted a layup in the final 21 seconds for a 34-31 lead at the break.
Karl Barkley tipped in a Gates miss 46 seconds into the second half but a Pupelis layup and two Rudd free throws gave the Green Terror a 38-33 lead with 17:35 on the clock.
A Gates layup and Kober fastbreak layup knotted the game for the eighth time and neither team led by three until the final 1:07 regulation.
Trailing 55-54 on a Gates jumper, Rudd responded with a layup for a one-point edge with 2:44 to play.
One Merlo free throw and a Pupelis jumper stretched the lead to four with 1:07 showing.
Gates, however, responded with a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining to make it a 59-58 game.
Two Perry free throws stretched the lead to three with 19 seconds on the clock.
In a game that featured 12 ties and 13 lead changes, McDaniel's seven-point advantage in overtime was the first time either team led by more than five in the game.
The Green Terror concludes the regular season at Gettysburg on Saturday. Game time is 2 p.m.