HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Ursinus College men's basketball team capped an impressive road swing in style on Wednesday night, pulling away early in the second half on the way to toppling Haverford, 96-84, for its sixth consecutive win.
Junior Ryan McTamney scored 19 points to lead five players in double figures – and seven with at least eighth points – for the Bears (13-7, 10-3), who used a huge spurt bridging intermission to polish off a stretch of three straight away wins and remain tied with Swarthmore for second place in the Centennial Conference. Ursinus, which is now 7-1 in conference road games, led by just four (38-34) late in the first half but closed the frame on an 8-2 burst and needed only five minutes of second-half clock to expand their lead to almost 20.
Ursinus scored over 90 points for the fourth time in its last five games with another efficient offensive display. The Bears went a robust 10-of-15 from 3-point range and finished at 55.9 percent overall (33-of-59), dishing out 17 assists. Freshman Ryan Hughes matched his career high with 17 points, senior Eric Williams Jr. added 15, and junior Shane Stark (11) and senior Zack Muredda (10) also finished with at least ten as Ursinus put all five starters in double digits for the second game in a row.
The Fords (8-12, 4-9) got off to a quick start with a 5-2 lead, but it didn't take long for the visitors to impose their will. McTamney scored on a spin move to give the Bears the lead for good, and sophomore Bruce Edwards followed with a right-wing 3 off a feed from Hughes.
Muredda put his fingerprints all over another spurt, feeding sophomore George Gordon underneath and setting up an easy lay-up for McTamney off an inbounds play before banking in a runner off the window to make it 19-11. The veteran point guard then sank a challenged 3 from the top of the key to answer a triple from the hosts and help the Bears start 10-for-15 from the floor and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
Soon after it was Hughes' turn to take over. The rookie finished a baseline drive to make it 29-18, then scored in transition plus a foul and set up an easy basket for Gordon off pick-and-roll action to open up a 36-20 lead at the 5:36 mark.
Haverford embarked on a 14-2 run to get within 38-34, but Hughes made a lay-up and hit two free throws around a short jumper by Stark to send Ursinus into halftime with momentum restored and a double-digit advantage at 46-36.
The Fords briefly got within seven on a 3-pointer to open the second half, but Hughes fed ahead to Stark for a left-handed lay-up and the foul to restore a double-digit lead. Eric Williams pushed the spread to 62-43 on a four-point play with 14:34 to go, and Edwards' strong drive down the left side of the lane made it a 20-point game for the first time at 72-52 with 11:07 left.
The Fords got within 10 on back-to-back 3-balls to make it 81-71, but senior Matt Williams got hot down the stretch as Ursinus pulled away again. Williams buried a 3 from the top of the key, scored on a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing sequence, and canned another deep triple from the left wing during a 10-0 spurt that culminated in a 91-71 advantage with 2:52 to play.
McTamney (7-for-11) and Hughes (6-for-9) were 13-for-20 combined from the field, with McTamney equaling Stark with a team-best seven rebounds. Muredda posted five rebounds and five assists, while Hughes had five boards and four assists.
Gordon produced nine points, and Matt Williams had a season-high eight.
Kahlil Garnes led all scorers with 21 points for the Fords, and Joe Scibelli had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The men's basketball team returns home to face McDaniel on Saturday night. Tip is set for 7 p.m.