COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College men's basketball team turned Alumni Weekend into its own highlight reel, dazzling a large Helfferich Hall crowd with red-hot shooting and plenty of acrobatics during a 95-65 Centennial Conference rout of visiting Washington College.
Sophomore Eric Williams Jr. led a dozen Ursinus scorers with 19 points as the Bears shot 59.7 percent from the field in sweeping the Shoremen (6-15, 2-12) and evening the all-time series at 47-all. Ursinus (13-8. 10-4) was 63.3 percent from the field (19 for 30) in the second half and forced 17 Washington College turnovers in the first, several of which led to some jaw-dropping highlights.
Freshman Shane Stark continued his recent tear with 15 points (on 6-of-6 shooting) and another rim-rocking dunk, junior Zach Quattro finished with 13, and junior Remi Janicot just missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds. Junior Brian Rafferty distributed a season-high eight assists without a turnover.
The Bears had to withstand an early challenge from the Shoremen, who scored the first four points and were tied at 11 after a three-point play from James Drury at the 13:40 mark. After that, it was all Ursinus.
The home side scored the next 11 points, starting with a driving scoop by Eric Williams. Stark had a steal and breakaway dunk and added a three-point play during the spurt, which eventually ballooned to a 29-7 run. After Dixon answered Stark's traditional three-point play with one of his own, senior Matt Knowles and Quattro banged home consecutive 3-pointers to double up the visitors at 28-14.
Then came one of the most remarkable plays of the season, as Rafferty bounced a no-look, behind-the-back-pass to a trailing Knowles after a steal by Quattro, bringing the home crowd to its feet. Eric Williams hit two more 3-pointers before a pair of free throws from freshman Ryan McTamney made it 40-18 at the 6:30 mark of the first frame.
Ursinus led 50-27 at halftime and went up by as many as 33 points in the second half. The Bears owned a 37-32 lead on the glass, with sophomore Zack Muredda and Quattro collecting eight caroms each, and dished out 19 assists to 14 turnovers. Ursinus outscored the Shoremen by a healthy margin in the paint (46-24) and off turnovers (21-11) and got 40 points from its ever-improving bench.
Eric Williams was 4 for 8 from long distance and 6 of 10 overall, while Quattro went 5 for 10 and Janicot was 4 for 5. Muredda had four assists and six points in addition to his rebounding effort, and Knowles (nine points), Eric Williams, Stark, and McTamney swiped two steals each. Sophomore Matt Margolis scored a career-high five points, and freshman Jake O'Neill finished a nice post move late in the game.
No player scored more than nine points for Washington College, which coughed it up 17 times in the first half but only twice in the second.
The men's basketball team stayed hot on the heels of first-place Swarthmore, which picked up a key road win on Saturday to stay a game ahead of the Bears. Ursinus gets its second crack at the front-running Garnet when it heads to the Main Line for a monumental CC showdown on Wednesday, February 8.