CHESTERTOWN, Md. – It was far from pretty, but aesthetics matter little when the result is a conference road win.
Ryan McTamney poured in a game-high 25 points, 19 of them coming in the second half to help the Ursinus College men's basketball team grind out a 66-58 Centennial Conference victory at Washington College on Thursday night. The junior wing hit six of his seven shots after halftime and went 4-for-5 from 3-point range as the Bears (4-2, 2-0) captured their seventh straight meeting with the Shoremen.
McTamney entered as the conference's leading scorer and left with that mantle intact, hitting one big shot after another to keep Washington College (3-4, 0-2) at arm's length. Combined with a tenacious defensive effort, it was just enough to escape unscathed in a see-saw battle with eight ties and 13 lead changes.
Despite committing a season-high 25 turnovers, the Bears got the best of this one by holding the Shoremen to 28.1 percent from the field (18-of-64) and a 3-for-17 mark (17.6 percent) from beyond the arc. Nothing came easy for the hosts, who handed out only eight assists to 15 turnovers and managed only four fast-break points on a litany of Ursinus miscues.
The Bears trailed 30-28 a minute into the second half, but McTamney followed an elbow jumper by sophomore George Gordon with a transition 3 from the left wing to put his team ahead to stay. McTamney continued to have an answer for every Shoremen spurt, rattling home a foul-line jumper and finishing through contact on a fast-break pass ahead from classmate Shane Stark for a 37-32 lead.
Sophomore Lucas Olshevski made his presence felt in this critical stretch, driving baseline and banking in a left-handed layup before sneaking inside for an easy basket on a feed from Stark. The margin continued to pinball in the single digits until senior Eric Williams Jr. buried a quick-trigger trey on a Stark kick-out to make it 54-43 with 8:24 to go. After a Washington College triple, McTamney nailed another left-wing long ball.
Leading 60-50 inside the final 2:15, Ursinus had to overcome some sloppy play and cold shooting to pull through. The Shoremen scored six straight points to get within four on a Dallas Marshall lay-up with 38 seconds remaining, but Eric Williams and McTamney each made a pair from the line to fend off the pesky hosts.
Though McTamney carried the load with his fourth 20-point outing of the season, he had help from his teammates in other areas. Gordon finished with 11 points, while Stark stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and four steals. Despite missing all seven of his shots, senior Zack Muredda pulled down a career-high 11 boards, and Eric Williams delivered a career-best six assists. Olshevski went 3-for-3 from the field for a career-high six points.
Stark scored the first three baskets for the Bears to ensure the visitors kept their noses in front during a ragged start for both sides. The junior scored off a nice feed from Eric Williams, poured in a sweeping right-handed hook, and finished a spin move to hand Ursinus a 6-4 edge inside the opening three minutes. He also grabbed a couple rebounds and pinned a running lay-up by Tray Wright off the glass, putting his stamp on both ends of the floor in the early going.
McTamney's left-wing triple put the Bears up 21-20 before Gordon took over in the closing minutes of the half. He scored on a tough move inside, put back his own miss plus a foul, and swished a sweeping runner across the line in a span of a few possessions to make it 28-26. His jumper early in the second half capped a stretch of nine consecutive Ursinus points.
Ursinus grabbed a 44-39 edge on the glass and outscored Washington College, 30-18, in the painted area. The Bears shot 43.4 percent from the field (23-for-53) and went 5-of-12 from 3-point distance.
The Shoremen's field-goal percentage was the lowest by an Ursinus opponent since the Bears held Haverford to 27.1-percent shooting during the 2016-17 campaign.
The men's basketball team returns home to face Dickinson on Saturday.