Johns Hopkins mounts comeback to beat Villa Julie

Blue Jays trailed by as many as 18 in first

Johns Hopkins 84 Villa Julie 72

March 03, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN REPORTER

Johns Hopkins trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half of last night's NCAA Division III tournament first-round contest against visiting Villa Julie.

But the Blue Jays forged a furious comeback in the second half and outlasted the Mustangs, 84-72, at Goldfarb Gym in Baltimore last night.

"We knew we couldn't have played any worse," said senior center Matt Griffin, who led the Blue Jays with a game-high 24 points and eight rebounds. "One through nine, everybody hung in there. That says a lot about our focus in the second half. Nobody panics."

Hopkins, which was in the NCAAs for the first time since 1999, got its first tournament win since 1998.

Senior forward Danny Nawrocki added 14 points and 13 rebounds, while junior guard Doug Polster scored 14 points.

Johns Hopkins (24-4), the Centennial Conference champion, will meet No. 19 Guilford, which improved to 22-4, after dismantling Manhattanville (23-6), 101-81, earlier in the day. The game is scheduled for tonight at 7 at Goldfarb Gym.

The Blue Jays earned that opportunity by mounting a terrific comeback in the second half.

Trailing 42-35 at halftime, Johns Hopkins trimmed the deficit to one twice in the openingfive minutes -- first at 45-44 and then at 47-46 -- only to see the Mustangs maintain and build upon their lead.

When sophomore guard Jason Lambert (15 points) scored a layup while getting fouled and converted the accompanying free throw to give Villa Julie a 63-53 advantage with 11 minutes left in the game, it appeared that the North Eastern Athletic Conference champions (20-8) were on its way to a second-round match with the Quakers.

But back-to-back three-pointers by Polster capped a 13-0 run and gave the Blue Jays their first lead of the game at 66-63.

"In warm-ups, my shot felt really good," said Polster, who shot 4-for-7 from three-point range. "I knew that if I just settled down, they would go in. And they couldn't have come at a better time."

The Mustangs, however, returned the favor and took a 70-68 lead after senior guard Steven Segears scored two of his team high 19 points.

But Johns Hopkins scored 16 of the game's last 18 points. Griffin scored 10 points during that span to cement the victory for the Blue Jays.

It was a different story in the first half as Villa Julie opened the game with a 15-4 burst and enjoyed its largest lead of the game at 41-23.

The Mustangs converted 50 percent (15-for-30) of their shots, including going 5-of-7 from three-point range. Johns Hopkins, on the other hand, shot 45.2 percent (14-for-31) and just 14.3 percent (1-for-7) from behind the arc.

But it was all for naught as Villa Julie's 15-game winning streak came to an abrupt end.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

VILLA JULIE-Segears 6-20 6-6 19, Williams 4-6 5-5 15, Lambert 5-9 3-4 15, McSweeney 3-6 3-4 10, Dugan 3-9 3-3 10, Lancaster 1-2 0-1 2, Richardson 0-2 1-2 1, Warren 0-2 0-0 0, Woody 0-1 0-0 0, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Smolkin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-58 21-25 72. JOHNS HOPKINS-Griffin 10-13 4-5 24, Nawrocki 6-8 2-5 14, Polster 4-8 2-2 14, Valerio 4-15 2-3 11, O' Connell 2-7 3-4 7, Armen 3-5 0-0 6, Morley 1-2 4-6 6, Kamm 1-3 0-2 2, Beggans 0-0 0-0 0, Purcell 0-0 0-0 0, Farber-Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Roach 0-0 0-0 0, Baumgartner 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-61 17-27 84. Half-Villa Julie, 42-35. Rebounds-Villa Julie 28 (Segears 7), Johns Hopkins 45 (Nawrocki 15). Assists-Villa Julie 9 (Segears 3), Johns Hopkins 13 (Valerio). A-1373.

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