CARLISLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College men's basketball team had a chance to make its first lead the game-winner, but a potential go-ahead 3 went begging in the final seconds as Dickinson escaped with a 63-59 Centennial Conference victory on Saturday.
Ursinus never led, but also never trailed by more than eight in a game that was tight the whole way. The Bears twice got within one in the final minute, the last time on a basket by senior Brian Rafferty with 23 seconds to play. After a Red Devil free throw, senior Zach Quattro had a look at a game-winning 3-pointer but was unable to connect.
The loss dropped the Bears (14-9, 10-6) into a tie with Dickinson for fourth place in the conference standings with two games remaining. Muhlenberg is one game back of a playoff spot at 9-7 in league play.
Ursinus trailed 18-11 on Moses Romocki's 3-pointer midway through the first half, but Quattro scored the first seven points of a 9-2 run that pulled the visitors even at 20-apiece on junior Matt Williams' layup with 6:49 left. But Bryce Allen put the Red Devils back on top with a triple, and his two free throws in the final minute of the frame made it 29-23 before Rafferty's feed to Quattro sent the Bears into the break down four.
Dickinson did its best to gain some separation early in the second stanza, taking an eight-point lead (35-27) on Ryan Devine's trey with 16:41 to play, but a bucket by senior Remi Janicot and a 3-pointer by junior Eric Williams Jr. got Ursinus right back to a three-point spread.
The lead fluctuated between four and eight until the 2:38, when the second of back-to-back scores for Quattro sliced the Dickinson advantage to 56-54. The Red Devils went back up by four, but two free throws by Rafferty and one more from sophomore Shane Stark made it 58-57 with 1:16 remaining.
Romocki's jumper with 47 seconds left delivered Dickinson a three-point lead before Rafferty answered on the other end. Romicki split a pair at the line to five the Bears a chance to take the lead, but Quattro's 3 would not go.
Though the final shot eluded him, Quattro played a starring role in keeping Ursinus close. The senior put up a game-high 21 points – 11 more than any other Bear – and added eight rebounds, going 9 for 18 from the field.
Sophomore Ryan McTamney scored 10 points, while Rafferty chipped in nine with a game-best six assists.
Dickinson rode the trio of Romocki (19 points, seven rebounds), Justus Melton (16 points, eight rebounds) and Allen (15 points).
The Bears dominated the paint (32-17) and on the glass (36-25), but the Red Devils scored 18 points off 12 turnovers and made 22 of 25 from the foul line.
Ursinus travels to Allentown on Wednesday for a huge CC contest at Muhlenberg. The Bears would clinch a playoff berth with a win.