CARLISLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College men's basketball team stole the lead away from Dickinson before halftime and staved off all of the Red Devils' second-half challenges for their fifth-straight win, 95-88, in a high-scoring Centennial Conference affair.
The Bears (12-7, 9-3) have now won seven of their last eight games overall and earned a split with the Red Devils. Ursinus kept pace for second place with Swarthmore and gained a game on CC leader Johns Hopkins, which was upset by Washington College on Saturday. The Bears, now 6-1 in conference road games, sit just a game behind the Blue Jays.
All five Ursinus starters ended with double-figure scoring nights. Atop the CC scoring mantle, junior Ryan McTamney led with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line to go along with six rebounds. McTamney came up with several crucial buckets in the closing minutes.
Freshman Ryan Hughes scored 16 points, one shy of his career high, on 8-of-12 from the floor. Junior Shane Stark continued his strong play with contagious energy, having scored more than 10 points in his last four games. Stark totaled 15 points, going 9-of-10 from the line, with three emphatic blocks and two steals on the defensive end.
Ursinus, the most potent scoring squad in the conference, outdid its points per game average with an efficient 53.7-percent shooting game. Powering their way to the charity stripe gave the visitors a game-changing advantage. The Bears owned the free-throw department by going 35-of-43 (81.4%) from the line. The Red Devils only managed 13 attempts, making 11.
Dickinson shot a hair better at 54-percent and owned the 3-point line with a 9-of-22 (40.9%) mark compared to the Bears' 2-of-13 (15.4%).
The Red Devils had their way with the Bears' 2-3 zone to open the game but a switch to a conventional man-to-man defense to finish the first half and the rest of the game did Ursinus wonders.
Dickinson powered out to a 19-9 lead four minutes in courtesy of perfection from 3-point range against Ursinus' zone. The Red Devils hit their first five attempts against the zone defense but tapered off, missing their next four.
The Bears bounced back with a 9-0 run to get within one point at 19-18. Seven of the points came from sophomore reserve George Gordon, who added a smooth hook shot bucket and a 3-point play in the run. McTamney's put-back gave the Bears a 28-27 lead.
A quick 7-0 Red Devils run put Dickinson back up 34-28, but Williams drained a 3-pointer and on the following possession knocked down all three freebies after being fouled shooting a deep ball to even the game with 6:15 to go in the first half.
After three Dickinson turnovers to close the half, the Bears used transition buckets to go up 46-42 at halftime despite Dickinson's hot 63-percent shooting. Hughes tied the game 42-42 on a fast break two-on-one layup. Stark's no-look pass found Hughes for an easy hoop, and the junior took his steal the other way to close out a flurry of points.
Dickinson's Mike Hinckley was perfect on all six of his first-half shots for 13 points and he added five assists. He finished the day 7-of-7 for 16 points and eight helpers.
In the second half, the Bears clung to a single-digit lead, pushing the margin to as many as six points through the early portions of the frame. Muredda's bounce pass dime found a rolling Gordon to get the lead to seven (73-66) with 7:34 to go.
With four and a half minutes to play, McTamney used a euro-step and finish to keep the Bears up seven points. McTamney added three more baskets to extend the lead to a high of 12 points (85-73) with less than two minutes left.
The Red Devils extended the game via fouling to muster up some late-game magic. A couple missed Ursinus free throws allowed Dickinson to cut the lead to five points in the closing seconds.
Elijah Wright scored a team-high 18 points for Dickinson. Bryce Allen scored 15 points and six assists.
The Bears had fewer turnovers (17-12) and more rebounds (32-25) than Dickinson for the game. Ursinus also collected 16 second-chance points to just two for the Red Davils.
The Bears wrap up their three-game road trip at Haverford Wednesday night. Ursinus beat the Fords, 78-69, in the CC opener on Nov. 20.