Millersville men’s basketball head coach Fred Thompson posted his 200th career victory on Saturday as the Marauders defeated the Bloomsburg Huskies in dramatic fashion. For the third time this season, Millersville found themselves needing extra minutes to decide the outcome of a game as they won in overtime 61-57.
Senior Jason Blake propelled the Marauders as he finished with a solid all-around game going for 21 points, six rebounds and five assists. The victory over Bloomsburg came a pivotal time for the Marauders after they lost their two previous matchups in conference play and were attempting to stay out of the bottom of the PSAC East. It was just the second victory in 11 games for Millersville after starting the year 5-1. However, the rocky play in recent weeks was erased with the win over Bloomsburg.
“It was a really important win for us,” senior Alen Ahmetovic explained. “We won that game and it puts us in second or third place in the division, which is big right now.”
The Huskies entered the game seeking their first conference win, but were turned away by the Marauders in what was perhaps the most evenly matched game one could imagine.
Both teams struggled from the floor, shooting just under 40 percent from the field in a sloppy game filled with fouls and turnovers. Still, neither team did anything to capitalize on the others mistakes as the teams headed into the half tied at 25 apiece.
“With such a young team, you’re going to have a lot of mistakes,” said Ahmetovic “but our young guys are gaining a lot of good experience right now.”
Bloomsburg came out as the better team in the beginning of the second half, building themselves a five-point lead, but the pesky Marauders were able to hang around. After Bloomsburg’s Jamar Smack missed the back end of his free throws with just over two minutes in the second half, the Marauders grabbed the rebound and called a timeout with 1:38 left in the game trailing by two.
Inbounding the ball under the Huskie’s hoop, senior Palmer McDurfee found sophomore Mike Siebert in the corner for a wide open three which he sank after a perfectly dialed up play by coach Thompson. Bloomsburg missed their next shot and after another timeout, Blake scored another bucket to put the Marauders up by three with 45 seconds to go in regulation. However, the Huskies would not be turned away just yet, as the Huskies nailed a three-pointer with 16 seconds remaining in the game. The Marauders headed back down the court and turned the ball over as the game headed into overtime.
The Marauders played terrific defense in overtime, forced a few key turnovers, and took the lead halfway through the final period. They went on to sink some important free throws and ultimately put the Huskies out of contention and walked away with the win. This season, Millersville is 2-1 in overtime games.
The win leaves Millersville with an overall record of 7-10 including 2-2 in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The Marauders are currently tied for fourth place in the PSAC East with West Chester and Cheyney Universities.
Millersville holds the tie-breaker over the Golden Rams since they defeated them earlier in the month. The Marauders fought to take sole position of the fourth and final playoff spot in the PSAC East Wednesday night in a showdown against Cheyney, “We know it’s a tough place. We’re just going to have to do what we did last game, play tough defense, and execute on offense,” Ahmetovic stated. It is easier said than done, however, the Marauders seemed poised to back up their words.