CHESTERTOWN, MD – Host Washington College broke into the win column by shocking visiting #14 Franklin & Marshall, 62-61, in Centennial Conference men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at the Cain Athletic Center. The Shoremen are now 1-14 overall and 1-7 in the Centennial, while the Diplomats drop to 12-3 and 7-1 respectively.
With the win, the Shoremen snap a 15-game losing streak which dates back to the end of last season and a 10-game home losing streak. Washington's last victory was a 56-53 win at Johns Hopkins in the 2012 Centennial Conference Tournament First Round on February 22 and the squad's last home triumph happened on January 21, 2012 when the Shoremen topped visiting Muhlenberg, 86-78.
The Shoremen have now topped a ranked team in four of the past five seasons, downing #25 Gettysburg, 64-62, on January 31, 2009, #11 Franklin & Marshall in overtime, 68-63, on January 14, 2010, #7 Franklin & Marshall, 78-74, on January 14, 2012 and #14 Franklin & Marshall this afternoon, 62-61. All of the wins were on the road except for today's game.
The Shoremen picked up their first win against the Diplomats this season after handing the Diplomats their first defeat last season.
Washington trailed 53-51 with 6:12 to go in the second half following a pair of free throws by F&M's Hayk Gyokchyan. Sophomore guard Stephen Poarch (Middletown, DE/Sanford School) made a free throw six seconds later to cut the lead53-52 and then rebounded his own miss and scored on a layup with 6:02 remaining in the contest to put WC up for good a 54-53 and ignited a 7-0 run to give the Shoremen a 58-53 lead with 4:39 remaining in the game on a pair of Poarch free throws.
The Diplomats ended the run on a Max Brewer jumper with 4:26 left in the game to trim the lead to 58-55, but on the next possession, senior forward Charlie McShane (West Deptford, NJ/West Deptford) drained a jumper of his own to restore the lead to five points at 60-55 with 4:03 remaining. F&M got a traditional three-point play from Morgan Lee just 19 seconds later to reduce the Washington cushion to 60-58. The Shoremen answered again on a McShane lay-in to push the lead back to four at 62-58 with 3:24 left. Franklin & Marshall would cut the lead to a single point, 62-61, with 1:51 remaining on a Brewer three-pointer from the top of the arc.
The score stayed 62-61 after Washington failed to score on its next two possessions and F&M failed to score on its next possession and got the ball back with 26 seconds left in the game. The Diplomats called a timeout with seven seconds left to set up the final play of the ballgame. F&M got the ball to Gyokchyan who drove the basket, but his layup was nowhere near the basket and junior guard Kevin Cunningham (Mt. Laurel, NJ/Lenape) grabbed the rebound and the time ran out and Washington got its first victory of the season.
In the first half, Washington broke an 8-8 tie with a 10-2 run to take an 18-10 lead with 11:14 to go in the first on a Poarch jumper in the paint. The Shoremen extended their lead to the biggest of the day at 10 points, 26-16, with 5:48 left in the opening half on a fast-break dunk by McShane. F&M responded with a half closing 12-5 run to cut the lead to 31-28 at halftime. A Lee jumper with four ticks left on the clock closed out the scoring in the first half.
In the second half, WC led 38-30 with 17:02 left in the contest following a jumper by sophomore guard Sean Brooks (North Wales, PA/North Penn) when F&M went on a 21-8 run to take a 51-46 lead with 7:30 to go in the ballgame on a Lee layup and it would prove to be F&M's biggest lead of the game. The Diplomats took their first lead since 7-6 in the first half with 10:19 remaining on a Matt Porter layup at 42-41. Washington would answer the run with five unanswered points, tying the score at 51-51 with 6:30 to go in the game on a Cunningham lay-in after freshman forward Pat Morgan (Havertown, PA/Haverford) made a three-pointer with 7:18 to go in the second half to cut the Diplomats' lead to 51-49.
For Washington, McShane scored a team-best 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Poarch scored 14 points and handed out a team-best four assists, while Cunningham had game-highs of seven rebounds and two blocks. Sophomore guard John Weston (Tampa, FL/Bolles School) had three steals to tie for tops in the games. Washington shot 51% (24-for-47) from the floor, 56% (5-for-9) from three-point land and 60% (9-for-15) from the foul line. Washington turned it over just 14 times, while forcing 20 F&M turnovers.
For F&M, Lee scored a game-best 23 points off the bench on 9-for-13 shooting. Gyokchyan added 13 points, while Jon Salandra chipped in with 11 points. Brewer dished out a game-best six assists, while Ed Early tied Weston for game-high in steals with three. The Diplomats shot 49% (24-for-49) from the floor, 38% (3-for-8) from behind the arc and 71% (10-for-14) from the free throw line, while holding a 34-20 edge on the boards.
F&M outscored Washington in points in the paint (38-26), second-chance points (10-4) and bench points (27-12), while the Shoremen had a 6-2 edge in bench points. Both squads had 18 points off of turnovers.
The win also snapped a six-game home losing streak to the Diplomats. WC's last home victory over F&M was a 74-64 win on February 11, 2006.
The Shoremen seek their second straight win on Wednesday night when they host Ursinus on at 7:30 p.m. in Centennial Conference action.