The men’s basketball team faced off against the Haverford College Fords on Saturday in a game that remained close until the final seconds. Hopkins has been having a great season so far, only losing two games in total, and the team ranked 15th in Division-III heading into their matchup with the Fords. Although Haverford was unranked, they still managed to make this game incredibly difficult for the Blue Jays.
Sophomore guard Ethan Bartlett spoke about being on a top-ranked team facing unranked Haverford.
“Rankings don’t really mean much until the end of the year,” Bartlett said. “We come in with the mindset that every team we play is going to give us their best shot, so it doesn’t really matter what their record is or whether they’re ranked or not.”
The game started out with back-and-forth scoring. Senior forward Harry O’Neil scored the Blue Jays’ first points on a pair of free throw shots. Thirty seconds later, sophomore forward Tom Quarry gave Hopkins their first lead of the game with a two-point jump shot.
The next four made shots for Hopkins were all three-pointers, each coming from a different player. The team held a 16-11 lead at this point. Later, a layup by junior guard Conner Delaney put the team up 23-16. This seven-point lead would be the Blue Jays’ largest lead of the entire game.
After the score climbed to 27-21, Haverford took a timeout. The Fords then went on a 9-2 run, retaking the lead for the first time since the opening minutes of the game.
The first half saw eight more lead changes with neither team being able to pull away. The final point of the half would be scored by Haverford with just over a minute left, bringing the score to 42-41 in favor of the Fords. The last minute of play was a flurry of fouls, turnovers and missed shots by both sides.
Bartlett explained how the team addressed the game at halftime.
“We tried to emphasize getting stops on defense and continuing to work to get good shots,” he said. “We’ve been in similar situations a few times this year, and it’s really been about valuing each possession on both ends of the floor.”
After what was an incredibly back and forth first half, the second half would only see a single lead change. Haverford started by extending their lead with a layup. The Blue Jays’ first three made shots of the half were three-pointers, two by junior guard Joey Kern and one by Bartlett. Still, Hopkins could not catch up to the Haverford lead.
With just under six minutes left in the game, a Haverford free throw brought the score to 67-57 in the Fords favor. It looked like Hopkins would never catch up in time. Two free throws by Delaney started to bring the lead down. But with two minutes left, the Fords still led by nine points.
Delaney had scored the Blue Jays’ last eight points. He had completely taken over the game, and he was not about to let his team lose. He hit a three-pointer, a layup and a free throw, bringing Hopkins to within three points. A Haverford layup gave the Fords a sturdier lead, but sophomore guard Braedon Johnson hit a three to make the lead a measly two points.
Haverford then missed a shot with 30 seconds left in the game. Delaney took the ball and dribbled up the court. He missed a three-pointer, but freshman guard James Carson grabbed the offensive rebound.
The ball returned to Delaney’s hands with less than 20 seconds left. He found Bartlett open in the corner and dished it to him. Bartlett drained the three-pointer to put Hopkins up by a single point, the first lead change of the second half. And with that, Haverford didn’t have enough time to put together a good possession, and Hopkins won 80-79.
Bartlett described his game-winning shot.
“I was just thinking about getting my feet set,” he said. “Conner [Delaney] really did all the hard work by getting into the paint, all I had to do was hit the open shot. It felt great to hit it, and I was glad that I could help the team get the win.”
Bartlett finished the game with 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Delaney scored 22 points, 16 of which came in the second half, and four assists. The Blue Jays will take on the Muhlenberg College Mules at home on Saturday, Feb. 2. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.