On Thursday Jan. 26 the Muhlenberg College men’s basketball team fell victim to the Swarthmore College Phoenixes as they continued their dominant 14 consecutive Centennial Conference regular season win streak.
The last time these two teams went up against each other, Swarthmore narrowly defeated the Mules 85-80 in overtime. Swarthmore, feeling there was something to prove, jumped out to an early 8-1 lead and seemingly never looked back. The Mules weren’t able to overcome the early deficit as they fell to the Phoenixes 88-65.
Throughout the game Muhlenberg struggled in a few key statistical categories that contributed to their defeat. The first major deficiency that the Mules looked to correct before their game against Gettysburg College is their rebound totals. Against Swarthmore, they were out rebounded 41-25. By losing the battle on the glass, Swarthmore was able to capitalize on second chance points, outscoring the Mules 18-6.
As one parses through the game stats it becomes clear that there was also a turnover problem. In the first half, the Mules turned the ball over six times and the second half was similar, giving the ball up 5 more times. When the final whistle blew, Muhlenberg had given up 18 points off of turnovers. Couple that with seven missed free throws and there are plenty of areas that the Mules will work to improve.
Going head to head in this matchup were three of the top four Centennial Conference scorers, two of which, Giovanni Rubino ‘24 and graduate student Dan Gaines ‘22, headline the Mule’s team. Although the ball did not bounce the Mules’ way, this duo did not disappoint on the scoreboard. Gaines dropped 21 points and Rubino 14 as they worked hard to reduce the deficit.
Muhlenberg rebounded against Gettysburg College on Saturday Jan. 28, and looks to carry forward the lessons from this past week against the Dickinson College Devils (this game will occur after the publication of this article).