Hopkins catches cold, loses title to Mules, 55-53 7-points-in-10-minute span decides defensive finale

March 01, 1998|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

A ruinous drought that saw host Johns Hopkins score just seven points over a 10-minute stretch late in the game led to Muhlenberg taking the Centennial Conference tournament title for the second time in four years last night, 55-53.

As tough a time as the Blue Jays (20-6) were having scoring, Muhlenberg wasn't pulling away so rugged and unyielding were the defenses of both teams.

Hopkins evidenced its first dry period of the night midway in the first half and, after seeming in control with a 24-17 lead, the Mules had hit a couple of three-pointers and the Jays were down, 31-27.

The teams left the floor square at 31-31, both shooting well, Hopkins at 64 percent (14-for-22) and the Mules at 50 percent (11-for-22).

It was nothing like that in the final 20 minutes. Hopkins shot just 35 percent from the field and, after not going to the free-throw line in the first half, was brutal from the line in the second half.

"We made just one of nine," said Jays coach Bill Nelson. "That was the game, because there were three or four misses on the first of one-and-one situations."

The victory extended Muhlenberg's winning streak to 11 games, avenged a 17-point loss to Hopkins a month ago and assured the Mules a berth in the upcoming Division III tournament.

Meanwhile, as Nelson pointed out, "We'll sit and hope that we get an at-large berth. There's three of them and we've been rated all year, the last poll having us No. 3. We've got a good chance of making it."

The star of the game for the visitors was all-conference Jim Doumato, although the final statistics probably don't indicate that.

He had a bad first half, three points (all foul shots) and just two rebounds, but recovered nicely. He got all the big rebounds his team needed, forced fouls and was a titan inside on defense. "He's a perfect example of a Division III player," said Mules coach Dave Madiera.

"In this tournament two years ago, he got shoved around because he was gangly. I'd say he probably hasn't missed going to the weight room more than twice since then.

"He literally made himself into a basketball player with his dedication as he wasn't recruited out of high school."

Kamau Coar scored 17 and Greg Roehrig 11 for Hopkins.

Adding to Muhlenberg's big night was the fact the women's team also beat Hopkins, 71-61, for the conference title, making it the first time both men's and women's teams from the same school took championships.

MUHLENBERG COLLEGE -- Kenny 3-8 0-0 8, Morrison 3-5 0-0 8, Graham 1-2 0-0 3, Nothstein 2-2 3-4 6, Queenan 3-6 3-4 9, Henrich 1-2 2-6 4, McFarlane 2-5 0-0 4, Doumato 4-12 5-7 13. Totals 19-42 10-17 55.

JOHNS HOPKINS -- Koropecky 0-1 0-0 0, Coar 7-15 0-2 17, Peoples 0-0 0-0 0, Geschke 2-7 0-0 4, Stroman 2-6 1-5 6, Vanin 2-5 0-0 5, Wertman 4-4 0-0 8, Ellis 1-3 0-0 2, G.Roehrig 5-7 0-2 11. Totals 23-48 1-9 53.

Halftime--31-31. Rebounds--MC 23 (Doumato 10); JH 32 (Stroman, Wertman 6). Assists--MC 12 (Doumato 4); JHU 11 (Coar, Geschke 3). A--275.

Pub Date: 3/01/98

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