Franklin & Marshall 71, Muhlenberg 55
LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall earned its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance with a 71-55 victory over Muhlenberg in the Centennial Conference (CC) Championship Saturday at Mayser Center. The CC title is the third in a row and seventh CC crown for F&M. The Diplomats became the first team to ever win three straight CC titles.
F&M advances to the NCAA Tournament for the 23rd time. The NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Committee will make its selection of teams for the 2012 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament Sunday evening. The announcement will be presented via webcast on www.NCAA.com beginning at noon on Monday. The bracket will be released at approximately 12:30 p.m.
The Diplomats have a conference-best six consecutive wins in the CC Tournament and avenged their only two losses this season in the process. F&M has put together 24 seasons with 21 or more victories and improved to 25-2 on the season.
Muhlenberg (18-9) came out of the gates strong and jumped to an early 8-2 lead four minutes into the game. The Mules extended their lead to eight, 18-10, at 11:34. F&M answered with a 9-1 run over the next two minutes to tie the game at 19. The teams traded baskets over the next few minutes with Muhlenberg holding onto a 23-21 lead at 6:57. That was the last time the Mules would lead, as F&M went on a 10-1 run to take a 31-24 edge at 2:46 and went into the break with a 33-26 advantage.
Matt Porter put F&M up 36-28 a minute into the second half before Spencer Liddic scored two straight to bring the Mules within four. Porter again hit a trey at 15:36 for a 42-33 F&M lead and the teams traded points over the next two minutes with F&M still leading 46-40 with 12:30 left in the game.
F&M put together a 10-0 run to take a 56-40 lead at 7:27, but Muhlenberg fought back and came within 11, 56-45, at 6:51. The Diplomats countered with a 7-0 run and took an 18-point lead, 63-45, at 3:42. F&M lead by as many as 18 points and never trailed by more than 14 through the final three minutes of action.
Georgio Milligan scored a game-high 21 points, dished out 12 assists and pulled down seven rebounds. Milligan shot 2-for-5 from behind the arc and went 7-for-8 from line. The senior went over the 600-career assist mark and currently has 610 dimes.
Hayk Gyokchyan and Porter both tallied 11 points for F&M. Porter shot 50% from the field while Gyokchyan finished with seven boards. Jon Salandra chipped in seven points with six rebounds while Max Brewer and Morgan Lee both finished with six points apiece.
Austin Curry scored a team-high 17 points for the Mules and Liddic picked up a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.