Men's Basketball fends off Eastern, 73-67

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Ursinus evened its record at .500 as the Bears (2-2) got off to a fast start against Eastern, but, had to hold off a late Eagles (4-1) charge in a 73-67 win Sunday afternoon in men's basketball action.

The Bears sprinted out to a 14-1 lead in the first seven minutes, but, Eastern got back into the game and eventually tied it with 3:22 left before Ursinus scored the last six points of the game in the win. 

For Ursinus, sophomore forward Jon Ward (Allentown, Pa./Parkland) had a team-high 21 points, with freshman guard Jesse Krasna (Fairless Hills, Pa./Pennsbury) scoring 18. Sophomore guard Matt Donahue (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Trinity) had 16 points as the Bears put three of five starters in double figures and shot 55.6 percent (20-for-36) from the field in the game.

For Eastern, sophomore forward Alex Nelson had a game-high 22 points, including a 12-for-13 performance from the foul line. The teams combined to shoot 68 foul shots in the contest, 50 attempts coming in the final 20 minutes. Senior forward Dan Miller had 19 points off the bench for the Eagles, with junior guard Collin Whipple adding in 15.

Ursinus held Eastern without a field goal in the first 7:47, going out to a 14-1 lead on a jumper by Donahue with 13:06 left, which was the largest lead of the game for the Bears. Trailing 16-4 with 11:33 left, Eastern put together a short 7-0 run to cut the Ursinus lead to 16-11 with 5:47 left on a layup by freshman guard Chaz Merriman-Brown.

Ursinus would rebuild the lead to ten at 23-13 with 3:22 left on a three-point play by Krasna. Nelson then scored Eastern's next seven points as he got the Eagles to within six with 2:03 left. Eastern would trail 27-23 at intermission as Merriman-Brown hit a three-pointer (Eastern's lone three-pointer of the game) with 37 seconds left.

In the second half, Ursinus went up by as much as 13 points as junior guard JJ Rapczynski (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley) hit a three-pointer with 13:53 left making the score 46-33. Eastern would again battle back, using the foul line to get back within four at 47-42 with 11:39 left as Miller hit a foul shot, as he scored Eastern's last five points in the run.

Ursinus got up by as much as eight after that point, before Eastern made its final run at the lead with 4:58 left. After a pair of foul shots from senior guard Matt Hilton (Lewistown, Pa./Lewistown Area) gave Ursinus a 67-61 lead, Eastern got back-to-back jumpers from Nelson, before a basket from Miller with 3:22 left tied the score at 67-all. That turned out to be Eastern's last field goal of the game, as a jumper from Donahue with 2:49 left gave Ursinus the lead at 69-67 for good.

Eastern had a 31-28 lead on the boards, with a commanding 13-2 edge offensively. Miller finished with eight boards for Eastern, with Hilton grabbing six for Ursinus.

The Bears welcome nationally-ranked Franklin & Marshall to town on Wednesday night at 7:30, with the Bears honoring former standout and current assistant coach Mike McGarvey prior to the game.

The Bears will retire McGarvey's uniform, the third player to have his number retired in school history (Richie Barrett and Dennis Stanton).