Senior Marquis Marshall and junior Mike Miller Jr. scored 24 points apiece to lead Alvernia University (12-7, 6-4) to a crucial 77-74 win over Hood College (13-6, 5-5) on Wednesday, Jan. 25 in MAC Commonwealth men’s basketball action at Jack McCloskey Court.
Miller hit six of his first seven 3s in the first half and had 18 points at the break. Marshall scored 15 of his 24 in the second half. Both players were good on big 3s in the final three minutes that helped the Crusaders seal the victory.
Alvernia shot 41 percent from behind the arc against the Hood zone knocking down 15-of-37 attempts. The Blazers were by far the most efficient 3-point shooting opponent the Crusaders have faced this season hitting 10-of-14 3s, a 71 percent clip that included a 30-footer at the first half horn from senior Scott Bolen.
For all the offense on display, Alvernia head coach Mike Miller wanted to start with the defense.
“It still came down to stops,” said Miller after the game. “We got crucial stops tonight, and they’re a tough team to guard. It just came down to getting stops when we needed them and making some shots.”
After the Crusaders got 3s on three of four possessions late to turn a 67-64 deficit into a 75-70 lead, the defense earned a miss from the corner by Jared Ruiz then Steve Pendleton drew a charge on Ian Eversull with 17 seconds left.
George Williams hit a pair of free throws at the other end for a 77-70 lead, but the Crusaders still had to withstand a final push from the Blazers. Trevor Magnuski drew contact on a layup with seven ticks left and missed the free throw on purpose which led to a scramble resulting in an Alvernia foul called with 0.4 seconds left. Tanner Ruths hit both free throws and both teams took a timeout to discuss the strategy in a 3-point game.
Alvernia ended up inbounding to Pendleton to expire the time.
Each of the first five buckets of the game were from beyond the arc. Hood got the party started on a set screen play for Bolen, and Ruths countered 3s from Williams and Miller for a 9-6 Hood lead.
Alvernia took the lead for the first time when Miller knocked down his fourth 3 of the game setting a 21-20 score with 9:08 left in the first. He hit his next two putting the Crusaders up 27-20.
“He was making everything,” said the elder Miller of his namesake. “But they took that away in the second half and that’s why we needed Marquis in the middle [of the zone]. And we got some 3s from Ship.”
Marshall scored and distributed from the foul line area against the Hood zone in the second half, and Shippen scored all 15 of his points in the second half going 4-for-8 from the arc after the break. He hit a 3 from the right wing in front of the home bench to tie the game at 67-all, Miller Jr. followed from the opposite elbow, and Marshall’s 3 near the end of the shot clock with 1:42 to play gave Alvernia the late 75-70 lead.
Williams, who assisted on the Miller 3 in the late run, finished the night with a career-high 13 assists.
“We’ve been working on that with him,” said Miller. “Even though he didn’t have a good shooting game, this was probably his best game here. He was very coachable and adjusted because he really cleaned it up the second half.”
The win keeps Alvernia locked in a tie for second place in the MAC Commonwealth with Albright — a 76-69 winner over Arcadia on Wednesday. The crosstown rivals trail Lycoming by two games after the Warriors suffered just their second league loss of the season — 91-80 to Messiah. Hood falls into a tie for fourth with Lebanon Valley College which dropped a 74-71 decision at Stevenson on Wednesday.
Miller Sr. was honored in a short pregame ceremony for becoming the Crusaders coaching wins leader with his 228th career win back on December 20.
Alvernia has its second bye of the conference schedule on Saturday and will host Lycoming on Feb. 1.
2TotalRecordsHood31437413-6, 5-5 MACCAlvernia University32457712-7, 6-4 MACCGame DetailsDate01/25/17Time8 PMAttendance631SiteReading, PARefereesB. Smith, J. Elliott, S. GaglianoNotesMAC Commonwealth game.Hood 74Hood 74##PlayerGSFGM-FGA3FGM-3FGAFTM-FTAOFF-DEFTOTPFTPATOBLKSTLMIN1Ruths,Tanner*5-104-62-21-0141630012821Bolen,Scott*3-82-34-41-91011223113144Casey,Luke*5-61-10-03-4711120012410Magnuski,Trevor*4-60-00-11-340842012811Ruiz,Jared*1-30-10-10-001222002432Eversull,Ian 2-32-23-40-111921001842Wegener,Daniel 2-60-05-63-25190201152Butler,Kobe 3-61-10-00-11270100155Riley,Michael 0-10-00-01-01102100923Robinson,Michael 0-30-00-01-230001008TMTEAM 0-00-00-01-450002000 Totals-25-5210-1414-1812-26381274171515200 Team Total % 48.1 %71.4 %77.8 % Team summary: FG3FGFT First Half 10-276-95-6 37.04 %66.67 %83.33 % Second Half 15-254-59-12 60.00 %80.00 %75.00 % Technical Fouls:nonePoints in the Paint:28Points off Turnovers:7Second Chance Points:15Fast Break Points:2Bench Points:25Scores Tied:1 time(s)Lead Changed:2 time(s)Largest Lead:9 2nd-13:19Alvernia University 77Alvernia University 77##PlayerGSFGM-FGA3FGM-3FGAFTM-FTAOFF-DEFTOTPFTPATOBLKSTLMIN44Mike Miller*8-158-140-00-111241000403Marquis Marshall*10-181-23-55-7122240153380Alex Shippen*5-114-91-22-242153013401Steve Pendleton*4-111-60-00-22292201264George Williams*1-91-62-22-5725131004042Ron Adams 0-00-00-02-134022001321Anthony Hedgepeth 0-00-00-00-000000003TMTEAM 0-00-00-01-010001000 Totals-28-6415-376-912-1830137721767200 Team Total % 43.8 %40.5 %66.7 % Team summary: FG3FGFT First Half 11-317-193-4 35.48 %36.84 %75.00 % Second Half 17-338-183-5 51.52 %44.44 %60.00 % Technical Fouls:nonePoints in the Paint:12Points off Turnovers:19Second Chance Points:5Fast Break Points:4Bench Points:0Scores Tied:5 time(s)Lead Changed:3 time(s)Largest Lead:7 1st-06:38