The men’s basketball team’s latest loss to Mansfield Saturday, was a game that the team needed to win in order to help keep their playoff hopes alive. However, the Mansfield Mountaineers were too much for the Marauders as they fell 67-64. This is the first time Millersville has lost to Mansfield three straight times since the 1983-84 season.
The Marauders kept the game modest, and never trailed by more than nine points. The first half saw many fouls for both teams, with the Marauders committing six within the first 10 minuets of play.
Despite the fouls, the team kept the game close even going ahead by six points on a three point shot by sophomore Mike Seibert with an assist by senior Palmer McDurfee with 9:15 left to play in the fist half. Millersville then saw their lead vanish as Mansfield not only closed the gap, but also went ahead on a three point shot at the buzzer by Chris Pender to end the first half.
The Mountaineers entered the second half with momentum that Millersville struggled to overcome. Mansfield extended their lead to 45-37 within the first five minuets of play. The game continued to go in favor of the home court Mountaineers as they pulled ahead for the biggest lead of the game with a score of 62-53 with only 3:22 left to play.
However, the Marauders forged ahead and held the Mountaineers scoreless for the next thee minutes as they closed the gap to 62-59. Scoring by senior Jason Blake and Seibert and sophomore Rob Wyley kept Millersville in the game until the end.
With only seconds remaining the Marauders were forced to foul the Mountaineers, but clutch free throw shooting by Mansfield’s Ryan Callahan put the game out of reach.
Saturday’s game followed a similar pattern the team has faced this season. In the last seven games the Marauders lost four games by less than eight points in each contest.
The team still has high hopes though. “I think we need to limit our mistakes and keep playing hard and playing defense,” Blake said.
This is the second straight loss for the Marauders and their fourth in the last five games. The team is now 7-12 overall and 2-4 in conference play. The Marauders are now tied for third place in the PSAC East division along with West Chester and Bloomsburg.
The team will have to make a strong finish to the season in order to overcome these losses if they want to make the playoffs. “Motivation must come from one another, we’re a family and we will continue to support and push one another and learn from our mistakes so we can be successful,” McDurfee said.
Manfield’s Yuseff Carr led the game with 18 points. Millersville’s Seibert led the team with 14 points.
Senior Alen Ahmetovic had a solid outing scoring nine points, nine rebounds, and a career high six assists. Blake also added 11 points in Saturday’s game.
The remainder of the Marauders schedule will be a challenge and the team will have to play in top form to overcome the recent losses. “I think our toughest challenge will be just to stay focused on the task ahead and limit our mistakes,” Blake said.