Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2002
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One of the best seasons in Muhlenberg basketball history came to a shocking probable end as both Mule teams were defeated at home in Centennial Conference semifinal games.

The women dropped a 53-52 decision to Western Maryland in the opener for their second one-point loss to the Green Terror this season. With a 21-4 record, they still have a remote chance of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The men (19-6) lost to Gettysburg, 68-59 – ironically, the same score by which they lost to the Bullets in last year’s CC championship game.

Women’s Basketball: The Mules missed their share of shots against Western Maryland, but it was one they couldn’t get off that sealed their fate.

With her team ahead, 53-52, the Green Terror’s Jen Piccolomini missed two free throws with seven seconds remaining. Sophomore Susan Marchiano grabbed the rebound, but the Mules barely advanced the ball past halfcourt in the remaining time and could not even attempt a desperation shot.

Muhlenberg spent most of the first half playing catch-up after falling behind by as many as eight points and eventually went ahead, 39-38, with 13:32 to play. The Mules took their final lead at 50-49 with 3:15 left on a three-point play by sophomore Becky Richmond, but made only one field goal the rest of the way. Muhlenberg shot just 26.9 percent for the game and 22.0 percent in the second half.

Marchiano finished with game highs of 18 points and 15 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season. Richmond pulled down 13 rebounds.

Western Maryland (21-6) will host the CC championship game on Saturday against Swarthmore, a 61-56 winner at Franklin & Marshall. Before this year, no road team had ever won a semifinal game in CC women’s history.

Click here for box score.

Men’s Basketball: Defending CC champion Gettysburg outscored the Mules 20-6 over an eight-minute stretch of the second half to pull away and advance to the championship game against Franklin & Marshall.

Muhlenberg appeared to have momentum on its side after going on 12-0 run to turn a nine-point deficit into a 48-45 lead with 10:18 to play. But Gettysburg (19-6) made three layups in the next minute to take the lead for good and eventually opened up a 65-54 margin at the two-minute mark.

Senior Michael Barletta led the Mules, who were held under 60 points for the first time all season, with 13 points. Senior Mark Lesko closed out his brilliant career with a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) and junior Aaron Holden also scored 10.

Muhlenberg committed only eight turnovers but shot just 36.1 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from the line. The Bullets fired at a more accurate rate, making 56.4 percent of the field goals and going 18-of-24 on free throws.

Click here for box score.

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Last updated February 20, 2002