Dec. 8, 2012
BALTIMORE, MD - Freshman Austin Vasiliadis finished with eight points but his final two were the biggest as he drained a pair of free throws with 6.2 ticks on the clock to give Johns Hopkins a two-point lead over visiting Muhlenberg. Malique Killing, who had torched the Blue Jays for 30 points on the day, got a look from three as time expired but his shot hit the rim and Hopkins held on for the 76-74 win. Hopkins improves to 5-3 on the season and 3-2 in the Centennial Conference, while Muhlenberg sees its four-game win streak snapped as it falls to 5-3 and 3-2 in the conference.
Muhlenberg made things interesting at the end as the visitors used an 11-2 run to turn a nine-point deficit into a tie ballgame with just 22 seconds to play. Trailing 72-63 with 3:04 on the clock, Alec Stavetski hit one of two free throws, followed by an Austin Curry jumper and a Killing triple to make it a three-point game with just 1:09 left. Vasiliadis pushed the lead back to four as he hit the back-end on a trip to the free throw line. The Mules couldn't convert on the other end and sophomore George Bugarinovic drew a foul, hitting one of two of his shots from the line and the lead was five at the 33-second mark.
On the ensuing possession, Killing was fouled on a three-point attempt. He sank his first two shots and missed the third, but Stavetski collected the rebound and kicked the ball out to Curry, who drained a three-pointer to tie the game with 22 seconds to go. On the other subsequent possession, Vasiliadis drove the paint and was fouled, sending him to the line with 6.2 to play. He hit both shots to put the Blue Jays up 76-74 and Killings' shot from downtown for the win hit the rim at the buzzer.
It was a close one from the start as the teams traded buckets over the opening six minutes of the game. But the Blue Jays put together a 7-1 burst in a two-minute span to take a 17-10 lead on the Mules. Muhlenberg answered with a 10-2 spurt of its own, capped by a Kevin Hargrove put-back after a pair of misses, as the Mules took a 20-19 lead with 6:49 to play in the half. Once again, the teams traded baskets and Hopkins eventually took a 29-26 lead on a jumper in the paint by junior Aleksandar Nikolic at the 3:42 mark.
The Mules had one last run in them before the break as they closed out the half on a 12-0 run, with Killing scoring the last eight points of the half to send Muhlenberg into the locker room with a 38-29 lead and the momentum. The Mules kept at it in the second half, as the Blue Jays could get no closer than four over the first eight minutes of the stanza. Back-to-back buckets from Nikolic made it a one-point game with 11:17 to play. But Curry answered for the visitors with a four-point play to push the lead back to five just like that.
Vasiliadis and Curry traded three-point buckets on ensuing possessions and Muhlenberg led 56-51. Nikolic hit a bucket in the paint, followed by a three from sophomore Jimmy Hammer and the game was tied with 9:10 on the clock. Curry temporarily gave the Mules back the lead as he hit one of two free throws, but an Alex Pandrangi layup put Hopkins on top at 8:17 and ignited a 11-2 Blue Jay run that turned a one-point deficit into an eight-point lead with 5:01 to play. Muhlenberg kept at it, but Hopkins answered every Mule point for a two- minute stretch and the Blue Jays led 72-63 with 3:04 to play. That set up for a thrilling final three minutes as Hopkins held on for the win on a pair of clutch free throws.
Bugarinovic led five Blue Jays in double figures with 14 points, while also blocking three shots. Pandrangi finished with 13 points four assists, while Spengler chipped in 12 with three helpers. Nikolic added a season high 12 points, while Hammer had 10. Vasiliadis had a season-high four assists to go along with his eight points. Freshman Matt Chiusano led the Blue Jays with a season-best seven rebounds. Killing led all scorers with his 30-point outing, while also dishing out four assists and grabbing three steals as he played all but one minute in the game. Curry finished with 20 points, going 6-of-8 from the floor, including a 4-of-5 showing from three-point. Hargrove chipped in 12 points while also grabbing nine rebounds and swatting four shots and Stavetski pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
Hopkins is now idle for three weeks and will return to action at the Bojangles Holiday Challenge hosted by Hampden-Sydney. Hopkins will face Randolph on Saturday, December 29 at 7:00 pm.