COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College men's basketball team several times cut a 16-point deficit down to three but could not quite get over the hump as No. 7 Johns Hopkins spoiled Senior Day with a 74-68 Centennial Conference victory on Saturday.
Ryan McTamney, the Bears' lone senior, had 16 points and 10 rebounds in his penultimate home appearance, but his heroics were made moot by a late surge from Blue Jays point guard Conner Delaney, who went wild down the stretch to all but lock up the No. 2 seed in the Centennial tournament.
Ryan Hughes led all scorers with 29 points for Ursinus (12-11, 7-9), which remained a game ahead of Gettysburg and Washington College with two to play in the race for the fifth and final playoff spot. The Shoremen did the Bears a big favor on Saturday, defeating Gettysburg and denying the Bullets a chance to pull into a tie with Ursinus.
The Bears were swarmed under an early avalance of 3-pointers by the Blue Jays (20-3, 14-2), who buried four of them and sprinted out to a 14-2 lead in the game's first five minutes.
Ursinus struggled to find a rhythm for much of the first half, missing 15 of their first 20 attempts from the field and falling behind by as many as 16 points (36-20) around the 4-minute mark of the frame. But the shots eventually started to fall, and a quick 8-0 run kept the Blue Jays from turning it into a run-away.
Bruce Edwards started the run with a put-back, and George Gordon scored inside before McTamney and Jimmy Kpadeh knocked down jumpers to make it 36-28 at the 2:31 mark. Gordon's easy lay-in on an over-the-top pass from Edwards sent the Bears into the locker room with a 38-30 deficit.
Johns Hopkins was not particularly efficient from 3-point range in the first half, but the sheer volume of long-range efforts was more than enough to build a cushion. The Blue Jays made eight of their 26 attempts (30.7 percent), with five players making at least one triple.
The Bears continued to pound the ball inside in the early stages of the second half and found joy with McTamney powering his way to a pair of baskets and Hughes surging through the lane for a lay-up that trimmed the Hopkins lead down to 46-43.
The Blue Jays responded with six in a row, going back up by nine on Conner Delaney's 3-pointer before Hughes muscled in a short jumper at the 12:24 mark. Hughes capped off another 6-0 spurt for the home side with an impressive drive and finish through contact, making it 54-51 just shy of the midway point of the second half.
Hopkins came back with a mini-run of its own, going up 62-53 on Quarry's left-wing trey with 6:12 to go, but Hughes got free inside for a basket off a beautiful pass from McTamney to slice it back to six. But Delaney took matters into his own hands, blowing by defenders for layups on three straight possessions, the last a three-point play that opened up a 69-58 advantage with 2:52 to play. Delaney then knocked down a dagger 3 with just under two minutes remaining before Hughes scored eight points in the final 44 seconds.
Ursinus shot 46.7 percent overall and held Hopkins to 44.3 percent, but the Blue Jays made 13 triples to just three for the Bears and limited the hosts to a mere two second-chance points. Delaney finished with 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting and handed out seven assists, with Quarry adding 15 points and eight rebounds and Ethan Bartlett supplying 14 points.
Hughes was 12-of-21 from the field and made all four of his free throws, while Gordon posted 11 points and Kpadeh combined 10 points with six assists.