COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College men's basketball team used a quick-paced offense and a strong rotation to top Washington College, 86-74, in Centennial Conference action Tuesday.
Senior Brian Rafferty made history in the game, becoming just the sixth player in CC history to reach 400 career assists.
The Bears (8-5, 4-2) jumped out to a fast start by hitting on four of their first five attempts, led by a pair of 3-pointers from senior Zach Quattro. One of Quattro's 3-pointers was bookended by baskets from Ryan McTamney, who opened the game with a layup before putting in another two minutes later. Thanks to some high-octane offense, Ursinus was able to build a 12-2 lead just four minutes into the game.
Ursinus established its dominance early on the boards – on both ends. Through the first 20 minutes of play, the Bears outrebounded the Shoremen (4-9, 1-5) 26-12, pulling down seven rebounds on the offensive end. Six of the Bears' 51 first-half points were on second chances.
Washington College wouldn't go away, chipping at the lead each time the Bears would add to it. But, the response was consistent. When a Shoreman would score, a Bear would be back on the other end with a basket. Freshman George Gordon got some early minutes, cashing in on a 3-point play by powering through contact for a lay-in. Gordon finished the contest with six points on 2-of-4 shooting, including a pair of free throws.
The Quattro-Shane Stark connection was active all game. Quattro cashed in on eight buckets, with five off passes from Stark. The duo went back-to-back midway through the first half, as Stark – a sophomore – found Quattro for an open 3-pointer before helping on a layup a minute later, pulling the Bears to a 27-13 lead. Ursinus kept the lead at double-digits thanks to free throws from junior Zack Muredda and Rafferty, who each drilled both attempts with five minutes to go in the half.
Freshman Bruce Edwards closed out the half with a 3-pointer, putting the Bears ahead 51-33. Rafferty had the helper on the basket, notching the 400th assist of his career.
Ursinus kept rolling in the second half, pulling to a 20-point lead with 11:55 remaining on the clock thanks to a nice cutting layup from Edwards. Prior to Edwards' basket, Quattro and Stark each registered a pair of baskets while senior Remi Janicot had a pair of free throws. Gordon added one as well.
The Shoremen pulled closer, manufacturing a 10-0 run after trailing by as many as 22 to cut the Bears' lead to seven at 73-66. McTamney cut off the run and swung momentum back in favor of the Bears with a huge put-back basket after a missed 3-pointer. McTamney crashed the boards, recorded the put-back through a foul, and hit the free throw to put his squad back up by 10.
The rebounding success continued in the second half as well, as the Bears wrapped up the day with a 49-28 advantage on the boards. McTamney led the team with nine – a career-best – to come up one short of a double-double as he scored 15 points.
Eleven Bears checked into the game, with ten of them recording a point. Quattro led all scorers with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting. He hit on three 3-pointers and grabbed six rebounds as well. Stark ended up two boards shy of a double-double, totaling 11 points and eight rebounds to go with five assists. He shot a perfect 5-of-5 from the field.
Ursinus looks to keep its home success intact as it welcomes Dickinson to Helfferich Hall on Thursday. The Bears are now 3-1 on their home court. The Bears then travel to Philadelphia to take on Gettysburg at the historic Palestra this Sunday.