No. 23 Diplomats Edge Muhlenberg

No. 23 Diplomats Edge Muhlenberg

LANCASTER, Pa. – No. 23 Franklin & Marshall erased a 17-point second half deficit with two strong surges in the second to come from behind and defeat Muhlenberg 77-70 in Centennial Conference (CC) men's basketball action Saturday afternoon. F&M improved to 18-3, 12-2 CC while the Mules fell to 9-12, 7-7 CC. 

Muhlenberg took an early one-point edge, 5-4, four minutes into the game. After F&M tied the game at 5-5, the Mules went on a 19-7 run over six minutes and took a 24-12 lead at 9:03. F&M slowly chipped away by outscoring Muhlenberg 12-4 during the next seven minutes to come within one, 28-27, at 2:14. Muhlenberg scored on its following two possessions for a six-point lead, 33-27, and F&M netted the last two points of the half to make it 33-29 at the break. 

J.C. McGrath netted eight in the first to lead F&M while Matthew Tate and Brandon Federici both chipped in six in the opening frame. 

The Mules continued to dominate in the opening minutes of the second and took a 17-point, 51-34, lead five minutes into the half. F&M answered with a 17-5 run to come within five, 56-51, at 10:36. The Mules went back up eight points before the Diplomats countered with a Tate led 12-2 spurt to take their first lead of the half, 63-61, with a little less than six minutes to play. Tate had six points in the run. 

Muhlenberg took a 64-63 edge and F&M tied the game at 66-66 with 3:59 on the clock. Lionel Owona netted four points to lead F&M on a 7-1 spurt which gave F&M a six-point lead, 73-67, at 1:28. The Mules came within three before Tate hit a jumper falling out of bounds as the shot clock expired and Federici hit two foul shots down the stretch to secure the win. 

Federici and Tate both finished with 21 points to lead the Diplomats, Tate added eight assists and Owona chipped in 14 points with nine boards. J.C. McGrath netted 10 for the Diplomats. 

F&M returns to action on Wednesday at Johns Hopkins for a 7:00 p.m.