Bears Hold On to Advance to CC Semifinals 80-76

Bears Hold On to Advance to CC Semifinals 80-76

(Collegeville, Pa.) – The Dickinson men's basketball team erased a 13-point deficit in the second half but came up short at Ursinus in the first round of the Centennial Conference Men's Basketball Championship on Tuesday night. The Red Devils made a great run but suffered an 80-76 setback in the end.

The first half was made up of a series of scoring runs by each team with the host Bears taking a 36-31 lead at halftime.

The Red Devils had a solid start, jumping out to a quick, 7-2 advantage. The Bears pulled even 10-10 before back-to-back three-pointers from seniors Moses Romocki (Creedmoor, N.C./Cardinal Gibbons) and Jon Stenger (Midlothian, Va./James River) put the Devils up, 16-10.

First-year Ryan Devine (New Egypt, N.J./New Egypt) hit a three-pointer to stretch the Devils' lead to 19-12, with 10:50 remaining in the half.

The Bears put together a 14-5 run to take a 29-28 lead at the 1:46 mark. Romocki would hit again from long range but Dickinson would trail 36-31 at the break.

The Bears held that advantage through the first part of the second half and stretched the margin to 13 at the midpoint of the period.

The Red Devils started to make a run with baskets from Justus Melton (Charlotte, N.C./Convenant Day) and Romocki, and solid play from junior Mike Hinckley (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Episcopal Academy).

Bryce Allen (Albany, N.Y./The Hills School) hit a pair of free throw to pull the Red Devils within five, 59-54.

Ursinus built the lead back to six but the Red Devils still had momentum and cut the margin to 65-63 at the 5:27 mark. Allen hit a big jumper to tie the game at 67 with just over three minutes to play.

Shane Stark hit a free throw and lay-up around a pair of free throws from Melton to give Ursinus a 70-69 advantage.

Ryan McTamney stretched it to 75-69 with another from the stripe and a lay-up, to barely beat the shot clock after Stenger buried a huge three-pointer from the corner for the Red Devils.

Hinckley answered with a jumper to make it a one-point game, but a great effort to block a shot by Melton was flagged as a foul, putting Brian Rafferty on the line to give the Bears a 77-74 lead. 

The Bears came away with a steal and free throws with just nine seconds to play. The Devils went quickly inside to Melton for a lay-up and then fouled with the score, 79-76.

An intentional foul call at the five-second mark would essentially end the game as Ursinus missed both free throws, but kept possession. Another foul led to Rafferty hitting one-of-two free throws for the final of 80-76.

Hinckley led the way with 19 points, five assists and four steals, hitting 7-of-10 shots from the floor. Melton had a huge game, scoring 18 points and controlling 13 rebounds, adding three assists.

Romocki and Allen reached double-figures with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Allen dished out seven assists on the night as well. Stenger turned in a strong performance, scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds.

The Red Devils finish the season 15-11 overall. Ursinus improved to 17-9 and will advance to face top-seed Swarthmore College on Friday night in the second semifinal match up.