Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 30, 2024

Men's Basketball on five game win streak

By MITCH WEAVER | February 7, 2013

The Hopkins men’s basketball team had a whirlwind week, going undefeated against conference foes Gettysburg and Swarthmore in dramatic fashion. Topping their opponents 64-59 and 67-61, respectively, the Jays are now 10-4 in conference play and are riding a five game winning streak.

The Jay’s mental toughness was rock solid against the Bullets on January 31, as they came away with the victory after trailing by as many as 17 points with 13:25 remaining in the game. Down by a score of 46-29, the Jays were sparked by an assist from sharp-shooting sophomore Jimmy Hammer to junior Daniel Corbett.  Hammer found Corbett under the bucket for a deuce, leading to an 18-4 run by Hopkins. Corbett pulled the Jays within single digits by nailing a three-pointer with just under 10 minutes to go.

Attempting to kill the Hopkins momentum, Gettysburg called a timeout. However, the Bullets continued to struggle as Hopkins put up an unanswered 12 points to pull ahead by seven. Senior Alex Spengler gave the Blue Jays the lead with two free throws. From there, the Jays never looked back.  Hammer and Spengler finished off the Bullets by burying eight free throws down the stretch, sealing the Hopkins victory.

Leading the scoring effort for the Jays was Spengler, who tallied 12 points. Key to his game, Spengler was 100 percent in his free throw percentage against Gettysburg. George Bugarinovic also came through with a steady performance, scoring 11 points and bringing down nine boards.

The next game on the schedule was Swarthmore, and once again it came down to the wire. This game had emotional ties, as it was dedicated to two former players and best friends Glen Wall and Matt O’Mahony, both of whom were killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.  After a close first half of basketball, Hammer again guided the Jays by connecting a three-pointer a little less than five minutes into the half. With that bucket, Hammer incited a 13-0 run for the home team, and he was not done there. Of the 13 points in that scoring run, Hammer accounted for 11. With 5:23 left to play, Swarthmore cut the lead to six points. Any momentum Swarthmore gained was cut short by a flagrant foul by Garnet player Joe Keedy, leading to a five point swing for the Jays. Once more, the Jays were unwavering at the charity stripe, nailing free throws to put the game out of reach in the final minutes of play.

Hopkins found strength in a pair of prime time players, Bugarinovic and Hammer, who had 14 and 17 points respectively against Swarthmore.  Bugarinovic, who took home the game’s MVP honors, was proud of his teammates, but kept his focus on the rest of the season.

“Just like every conference game, this was a huge one for us going in. With our team currently just one game behind first place, we still have good chances of hosting the conference tournament. That is always our goal since hosting the conference tournament would put us in good position to win it and then advance to the NCAA tournament," he said. "After playing a close first half, we were able to pull away from Swarthmore in the second and get the win."

Closing out his comments, Bugarinovic acknowledged the competitiveness of the conference. "Every game in our conference is tough, there aren't really any 'easy' wins in the Centennial. We're ready to battle in these last four games and hopefully do some damage in post-season play.”

Assistant Coach Matt Righter, when asked about this past week’s games, spoke to the leadership of his seniors as a key to the team’s recent victories. “Moving forward, we need to get better starts but it’s nice to see our guys step up big when we need them to," commented Righter. "I attribute our second half success to our good leadership, especially our three seniors Adam Spengler, Michael Rhoades and Alex Pandrangi.”

With wins over Gettysburg and Swarthmore, the team has improved to an overall record to 14-7. “I think we’ve been playing really well and hopefully the good play continues into these next couple weeks," said Hammer positively. "I feel we have vastly improved since the beginning of the year and are really playing well right now, which is good heading into the end of the season. I think we have a very good chance of winning the conference tournament but we need to keep playing well. It will be very tough, but we are just as good as the top teams in our conference.”

Next up for the Jays is the Green Terror of McDaniel College, slated for Wednesday, February 6, at Goldfarb Gym.

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