Lynch & Smith Power Diplomats Past Scranton 79-68 in ECAC Men's Basketball Semifinals
LANCASTER, PA - Center Dan Lynch (Sr., Richboro, PA/Council Rock) recorded 21 points and forward Brandon Smith (Jr., Reading, PA/Governor Mifflin) added a game high 22 points, 11 rebounds and five steals as the #1 seed Franklin & Marshall College men's basketball team knocked off #4 seed Scranton University 79-68 at the Mayser Center in the semifinals of the 2005 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) South Region Championship Tournament.
The Diplomats (22-7, 14-4 Centennial Conference) will now face #6 seed Catholic University of America (20-9) in the tournament championship game at 7:00 p.m. on March 5 in the Mayser Center as the Cardinals upset #2 Carnegie Mellon University (19-7) 85-76 in the second semifinal at Mayser on March 4.
The 2002 and 2003 ECAC Champions, F&M is now 7-0 all-time in ECAC competition after defeating Lincoln University (116-100 W) in the first round and having previously knocked off Lebanon Valley (71-59 W) and Kings (82-65 W) to take the 2003 title and Moravian College (79-59 W), Neumann College (90-66 W) and DeSales University (70-60 W) to win the 2003 crown.
The Diplomats began to put the game away from the opening tip as point guard Logan Outerbridge (So., Glen Rock, NJ/Glen Rock) drained a three-pointer 23 seconds into the game to stake Franklin & Marshall to a 3-0 lead. The lead grew as forward Bryan Teschke (So., Pittsburgh, PA/Fox Chapel) hit jumpers at 18:38 and 18:02 before Lynch put home a lay-up at 17:27 for a 9-0 lead.
Scranton (20-7) cracked the scoring column at the 16:10 mark as Brian O'Donnell dropped in a lay-up, but the Diplomats countered with an 11-0 run as Lynch hit a hook shot at 15:40, Smith made a pair of free throws at 15:15, guard Jackiem Wright (Sr., Sicklerville, NJ/Moorestown Friends) tipped in an alley-oop pass from Smith at 14:46, Lynch added a lay-up at 13:42, Wright converted a pair of free throws at 12:31 and Outerbridge drilled a three-pointer at 12:00 for a 22-2 lead.
The lead expanded to 32-8 with 6:52 remaining in the half following a lay-up by Smith, but the Royals engineered a 9-2 run to pull to within 17 points with 3:34 left in the half. However, the Diplomats added to the margin as Smith made one-of-two at the free throw line and hit a driving lay-up at 2:33 for a 37-17 lead.
Scranton attempted to chip away at the margin in the final two minutes as O'Donnell made a pair of free throws at 2:12 and James Powell converted on a pair of shots at the charity stripe at 1:10 to pull to within 37-21.
Wright and guard Brandon Chasen (Fr., Potomac, MD/Bullis) finished off the half as Wright knocked down a pair of free throws at :41 and Chasen swished a three-pointer at the first half horn for a 42-21 lead at the break.
Overall, the Diplomats dominated in the first half making 15-of-29 from the field (52.2%), including three-of-seven from beyond the arc (42.9%), and nine-of-11 at the free throw line (81.8%) with seven assists and five steals, while holding Scranton to eight-of-23 from the field (34.8%), one-of-seven from beyond the arc (14.3%) and four-of-six at the free throw line (66.7%) with two assists and no steals.
The second half saw the Royals cut F&M's lead to 17 points in the opening minute as Patrick Clabby and Randy Arnold made lay-ups at 19:42 and 19:06 to make the score 42-25.
Franklin & Marshall pushed the lead out to 22 points as Lynch dropped in lay-ups at 17:58 and 16:52, while Wright made a free throw at 17:31 for a 47-25 margin.
However, Scranton chipped away at the lead as Clabby hit a jumper at 16:32, Ryan Kirk drained a three-pointer at 15:07 and Arnold made the back-end of a pair of free throws at 14:51 to slice the lead to 47-31.
Smith knocked down a jumper at 14:21 to make the score 49-31, but O'Donnell made back-to-back lay-ups at 13:14 and 12:54 to pull the Royals to within 14 points at 49-35.
Smith made a free throw at 12:19 to inch the lead back to 15 points, but O'Donnell tipped in a missed shot at 12:00 to move Scranton to within 13 points at 50-37.
Again, Smith countered with a lay-up at 11:32 before Clabby made a free throw to make the score 52-38 with 11:06 on the clock.
Leading 56-43 with 9:42 remaining following a three-pointer by O'Donnell, F&M reeled off a 6-3 run to take a 62-46 at the 7:42 mark.
The lead swayed from 13 to 17 points before Scranton's Kirk made a three-pointer at 3:50 to make the score 68-58. Chasen converted a pair of free-throws at 3:26 to keep the Diplomats ahead by double figures, but Arnold hit a three-pointer at 3:19 to make the score 70-61 and mark the first time Catholic was within 10 points of F&M since an 11-2 deficit 4:20 into the game.
Lynch returned F&M's 10+ point lead as he made a lay-up at 2:43 before Arnold converted two-of-three free throws to trail 72-63 with 2:34 remaining on the game clock.
Franklin & Marshall iced the win as Smith registered a lay-up at 2:18, while Lynch made one-of-two at the free throw line at 2:06 and two-of-two at 1:22 for a 77-63 lead.
Kirk attempted to rally the Royals with a three-pointer at 1:07, but Smith finished off F&M's scoring courtesy a lay-up at :30 and Matt Duardo drained a pair of free throws at :22.1 for Scranton for the 79-68 final score.
For F&M, three players finished in double digits as Outerbridge connected for 10 points in 30 minutes of play, while Chasen added eight points, Wright tacked on seven points and Teschke chipped in four points, two steals and three blocked shots to add in the victory.
The key to the game for the Diplomats was defense and free throws as F&M blocked seven shots and collected seven steals to the Royals' no blocks and four steals, and drained 28-of-40 from the charity stripe, including 19-of-29 in the second half.
For Scranton, O'Donnell led the way with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Clabby added 13 points and Arnold tacked on 10 points.
Historically, F&M is now 4-2 all-time against Scranton, as the Diplomats and Royals had not met since a 75-62 win by the Diplomats at the Albright College Tournament on January 6, 1996.
In the other semifinal, four Catholic players reached double digits in scoring as the Cardinals held off Carnegie Mellon 85-76.
For Catholic, Scott Fumai led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Mike Wasilenko added 14, Shane Sowden chipped in 13 and Matt Spierenburg added 10 points with seven blocked shots in the victory as the Cardinals used a 41-31 halftime lead to fend off the Tartans.
For Carnegie Mellon, Nate Maurer made 12-of-21 from the field, two-of-five from beyond the arc and six-of-seven at the free throw line for a game high 32 points with six rebounds in 26 minutes. Clayton Barlow-Wilcox added 18 points, Michael Divens tallied 13 points, AJ Straub tacked on five points, while Jason Walters and Eliot Goren both scored four points to account for all of CMU's scoring in the game.
The Franklin & Marshall-Catholic title game will mark the second meeting between the two programs this year as F&M caged the Cardinals 81-64 on December 22 in Washington behind 27 points by Wright. The win raised F&M to 3-0 all-time against Catholic as the Diplomats picked up wins in the 1989 Lancaster Rotary Tip-Off the New Year Tournament (77-68 on January 5 in Lancaster) and the 2000 NCAA Tournament "Elite Eight" (85-74 on March 11 at William Paterson University).
Further, due to F&M advancing to the title game, Wright is guaranteed to tie Chris Finch '92 for the school record and second place in NCAA Division III history for most games played in a career at 119.
Ticket prices are $4 for adults, $2 for students (13-18 without ID) and free for youth 12 and under. Also, students from the participating teams are admitted free upon presentation of a current school ID.