M. Basketball rise to third in Centennial Conference

By BRANDON WOLFE | February 1, 2018

B12_BBall

HOPKINSSPORTS.COM
Recently named Player of the Week, senior Kyle Doran earned career highs.

The Hopkins men’s basketball team continued their winning ways this past week in a pair of contests against Centennial Conference foes McDaniel College and Ursinus College.

The Blue Jays began their dominating week with a win against the McDaniel College Green Terror in Goldfarb Gym.

The Jays jumped out to a quick 8-3 lead barely two minutes into the contest with the work of junior forward Daniel Vila and senior forward Kyle Doran leading the charge. Hopkins continued to put the pressure on, taking a 23-12 lead at the halfway point in the first half, forcing the Terror to call a timeout and regroup.

“Our offense has been flowing really well, and guys are moving the ball and taking and making open shots,” sophomore forward Harry O’Neil said.

McDaniel came out with guns blazing after they broke the huddle, with guards Austin Cannon and Josh McWilliams combining for 10 points to narrow the Blue Jay lead to just one with five minutes left in the first.

Hopkins regained the momentum before the half, with O’Neil putting up seven points and a stout Hopkins defense which gave the Blue Jays the spark they needed to take a 36-26 lead into the locker room.

Hopkins would start off the second with four straight three-pointers, with junior guard Michael Gardner sinking two before Doran joined in with a couple of his own. Hopkins extended their lead to 48-29 only five minutes into the second.

McDaniel would make a push to try and stop the bleeding, narrowing the deficit to within 11 points by taking advantage of the Jays’ struggle to find the bottom of the net halfway through the second half as the scoreboard read 50-39 in favor of Hopkins.

The Jays’ shooting woes would cease after a few easy free throws by O’Neil put Hopkins back into a scoring rhythm. Hopkins led 57-39 with 5:32 left in the game. After the two teams exchanged baskets as the clock continued to count down, the Jays would emerge victorious, with a final score of 64-51.

Doran led with 17 points, while O’Neil earned a new career high with 16 points. The defensive showing also marked the fifth time this season that the Jays have given up less than 55 points.

The Jays carried this momentum into Saturday’s matchup, when they traveled to Collegeville, Pa. to face off against the Ursinus Bears.

Both offenses came out with fire, as there were 10 lead changes in the first 10 minutes of play. Neither team would be able to amass more than a two-point lead during the first ten minutes of play. The score was tied at 17 on each side with 9:19 left in the first half.

However, the Blue Jays did not settle and pushed the score to 42-25 at the end of the half. O’Neil dominated the glass as Ursinus failed to convert on their shots. Freshman guard Conner Delaney would get a trio of triples on his route to 17 points during the first half. Doran contributed 10 points in the first, and O’Neil grabbed five rebounds.

The first three minutes of the second half saw only five points put on the board — three for the Blue Jays and two for the Bears — as both offenses struggled to get going. Hopkins would eventually find their groove with 16 minutes left in the half. Doran would score eight points, paving the way for a 13-4 run that gave Hopkins a 58-31 lead at the 12:33 mark.

Ursinus would attempt to rally back, but thanks to the impressive work of the Hopkins offense, the Bears would not be able to mount a meaningful comeback. The two squads traded baskets, but the Jays’ commanding lead proved too much to overcome, as Hopkins picked up the 75-56 victory.

“We’ve relied a lot on our defense for the past couple games, and we’ve made it very difficult for Ursinus to get into their offense and score the ball,” O’Neil said.

Doran’s career-high 25 points and 13 rebounds led the team. Delaney also recorded a career high of 19 points, and Gardner also scored double figures with 12 points.

The Jays’ strong defensive performance held Ursinus below their season average of over 80 points per game as the Jays picked up their fifth win in a row and advanced to third place in the Conference.

“Overall, I think we all just have a lot of confidence in people making the right play, so it’s making us very unselfish and difficult to guard,” O’Neil said.

Hopkins will next be in action against Gettysburg College on Saturday, Feb. 3, with tipoff at 2 p.m.

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