LANCASTER, Pa. – Four players scored more than 20 points to lead Franklin & Marshall to a 101-98 victory over Lebanon Valley in two overtimes Sunday evening at the Mayser Center. F&M stayed unbeaten on the season and improved to 5-0, while the Dutchmen suffered their first loss and dropped to 4-1.
LVC jumped out to an early 7-0 lead two minutes into the game and held a 14-6 advantage at 13:47. The Diplomats answered with a 10-4 run, led by Brandon Federici's five points, to bring F&M within two, 18-16, at 11:09. After a bucket by the Dutchmen, F&M netted eight straight and went up 24-20 on a layup from Matt Groll. LVC tied the game at 31-31, but F&M netted six and took a 37-31 lead at 2:19. The Dutchmen countered with a 6-2 spurt to come within two, 39-37, at the break.
Groll had 12 in the first half with six boards and Federici went into the break with nine points for F&M.
The Dutchmen outscored F&M 7-2 during the opening three minutes of the second to go out front 44-41 at 17:19. F&M stayed within striking distance and tied the game at 54-54 on two free throws from Matt Groll at 12:15. F&M matched a 4-0 run from LVC with one of its own and tied the game at 58-58 with a little more than nine minutes left to play.
The teams exchanged points over the next eight minutes, and after five straight from Matthew Tate, F&M led 73-71 with a little under four minutes to play. Neither team led by more than two down the stretch, and after a pair of free throws from each team, LVC held an 80-78 edge with 22 ticks on the clock. Groll finished off a pass from Tate and tied the game at 80-80 and the Dutchmen called a timeout to set up for one last shot. Groll came up with a steal down on the other end and F&M heaved a shot as the buzzer sounded, but missed to send the game into overtime.
Neither team took more than a two-point lead during the extra frame as both teams traded points. Tied at 86-86, F&M came away with the ball and called a timeout with 28 ticks on the clock, and after two missed shots, LVC had a chance as time expired just inside the arc, but the shot was short to send the game into the second overtime.
Overtime two mimicked the first as both teams traded buckets with the game tied at 90-90. F&M scored four straight to go up 94-90 with under a minute left to play. Tate extended the run with two from the stripe and one from the line from Groll, LVC converted a three-point play to come within four, 97-93, with 20 seconds left. Tate put F&M up 99-93 and LVC again converted the traditional three-point play to make it a one-possession game, 99-96, with six seconds left. Groll hit two from the line in the final seconds to secure the win.
Groll led all scorers with career-high 29 points, hitting 9-of-17 from the floor to go along with 10 boards. Federici and J.C. McGrath both finished with 20 and Tate chipped in 21 for F&M.
F&M returns to action on Thursday when the Diplomats resume Centennial Conference action at Ursinus. Game time is set for 6:00 p.m.