March 12, 2008
Many thought the 2007-08 season would be a rebuilding year for the Johns Hopkins men's basketball team. But instead, the Blue Jays posted their 13th consecutive winning season and advanced to the Centennial Conference Tournament for the sixth straight season. Hopkins posted an overall record of 16-10, with six of those losses coming to teams in the NCAA Sweet 16. The Blue Jays went 12-6 in the Centennial Conference and finished third, after being picked to finish fourth. Hopkins got off to a bit off a slow start, but finished strong by going 10-4 down the stretch, with five of those wins coming in overtime.
The season opened with the 17th annual Blue Jay Invitational. Hopkins defeated Carnegie Mellon 81-73 in the opener, before falling to Richard Stockton 78-74 in overtime. The Blue Jays would go on to play a school-record seven overtime games in 2007-08 with their only loss coming to the Ospreys. Senior Doug Polster and sophomore Pat O'Connell were named to the all-tournament team for Hopkins. Polster averaged 20 points over the two games, connecting on six three pointers and going 15-of-16 from the charity stripe. O'Connell chipped in 16.5 points per game, while shooting 52.1 percent from the floor. He was 4-of-4 from downtown and 5-of-7 from the line.
Hopkins then jumped into the third annual Provident Pride of Maryland Tournament as the defending champions and this year's host. The Blue Jays went on the road in the first round and struggled from the floor, shooting just 25.9 percent in a 52-43 loss to the Hood Blazers. In the consolation semifinals, freshman forward John Alberici scored 17 points to lead three Blue Jays in double figures in a 69-52 win over Washington College. The following day, Hopkins defeated Villa Julie 64-61 in overtime to finish fifth in the tournament. Senior Kevin Roach paced the Blue Jays with 12 points, while Polster earned his second all-tournament team honor of the season.
The Blue Jays opened their Centennial Conference slate on the road against the Franklin & Marshall Diplomats. Despite shooting 50.0 percent from the floor, including a scorching 64.3 percent in the second half, the Blue Jays struggled on the boards and lost 70-61. Three days later, Polster and junior Collin Kamm combined to lead Hopkins to a 73-59 win over Swarthmore at home. Hopkins shot 47.5 percent from the field while turning the ball over just 10 times and forcing 18 Swarthmore turnovers. On the road at Gettysburg, Polster punched up 20+ points for the second consecutive game, but it was not enough as the Bullets shot 56.0 percent from the floor to win 82-77. Hopkins closed out 2007 with a come-from-behind win at Dickinson. Trailing by six points with less than five minutes to play, the Blue Jays went on a 17-0 game-ending run, fueled by 13 consecutive free throws for the Jays.
Hopkins returned to action in January with the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at York College. The first game was a battle of the Blue Jays as Hopkins took on undefeated Elizabethtown. O'Connell punched up 22 points but too many Hopkins turnovers led to a 74-67 win for Elizabethtown. In the consolation game, three players scored in double figures, led by sophomore Andrew Farber-Miller's 15 as Hopkins downed Eastern 71-62. Kamm just missed posting a double-double with 10 points and a school-record nine steals. O'Connell was named to the all-tournament team for JHU.
Kamm scored a career-high 17 points, but Hopkins struggled from the floor, shooting just 33.3 percent in a 62-57 loss at Ursinus. Hopkins came out firing in its next outing, shooting 52.1 percent from the floor, while holding Haverford to just 32.6 percent in a 65-51 win. Five Blue Jays hit in double figures, led by O'Connell with 17 points. Four days later, Muhlenberg visited Goldfarb Gym in what proved to be a marathon event. Polster, Farber-Miller and O'Connell combined to score 74 points as Hopkins defeated Muhlenberg 100-91 in triple overtime. Farber-Miller played a school-record 49 minutes in just the second triple OT game in school history. The Blue Jays broke school and Centennial Conference records for free throws attempted (57) and free throws made (46).
Just three days later, Hopkins would need two overtimes to beat Swarthmore 76-73 on the road. Hopkins trailed by five with just 18 seconds to play in the first overtime, but a lay-up from sophomore Adam Baumgartner and a Scott Weisenfeld trey with just 0.7 left on the clock forced a second overtime. The Blue Jays once again had to rally, as Kamm nailed a three from the corner with 24 seconds to play to give JHU the lead. O'Connell would seal the win with a pair of free throws with 4.2 seconds to play. After posting back-to-back come-from-behind wins, the third time would not be the charm as Hopkins fell 59-56 to McDaniel when Polster's last-second three-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer. The Blue Jays then dominated the Dickinson Red Devils in their next game, winning by 21 points as four Blue Jays scored in double figures. Hopkins made it two in a row after traveling to Chestertown and defeating Washington College 70-57. The Blue Jays then ran into a hot Ursinus Bears team that had won 10 straight, falling 82-66. Polster poured in a career-high 29 points to earn Wall-O'Mahony MVP honors. Hopkins got back in the win column with a little revenge, beating Franklin & Marshall 64-59 at home in a game the Blue Jays never trailed in. Once again, the Blue Jays would need an extra period in their next game, defeating the Haverford Fords 64-63 in overtime on a last-second jumper by Weisenfeld. Hopkins suffered a set back just four days later when Gettysburg visited Goldfarb and left with its seventh consecutive win. Four Blue Jays hit in double figures, led by Roach and Polster with 12 apiece, but the Bullets shot 59.1 percent in the second half en route to a 67-56 win.
Hopkins went on the road and clinched a play-off spot with a 61-47 win at Muhlenberg. Roach poured in a career-high 17 points to pace the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays next game was a battle for third place in the Centennial as they went on the road to face the McDaniel Green Terror. Once again, Hopkins exacted some revenge for an earlier loss, defeating McDaniel 76-68 in overtime on the Terror's senior night. A three-pointer from Polster at the top of the key forced the extra period, as the Blue Jays outscored the Terror 17-9 in overtime. All Hopkins needed was a win over Washington College on senior day to clinch the third seed in the Centennial Conference Tournament. Appropriately, Hopkins would win an overtime thriller 69-68. The Blue Jays rallied from five points down with 1:39 to play to force overtime. A pair of buckets from Weisenfeld made it just a one point game with 1:14 to play. Three missed baskets and a missed free throw by the Shoremen in the closing minute gave the Blue Jays life. O'Connell hit one of two free throws with 5.1 seconds on the clock to force the overtime. Hopkins trailed in much of the overtime, but once again, rallied for a win. Farber-Miller tipped in a missed three-pointer by Weisenfeld with 13 seconds to play to cut the deficit to one. Roach then stole the inbounds pass and found a wide-open Polster, who drained a baseline jumper with 9.6 ticks on the clock to give JHU a 69-68 lead. On the ensuing possession, Farber-Miller blocked Tim Kohlrus's shot and Roach grabbed the rebound to seal the win.
The win set up a meeting with Gettysburg in the Centennial Conference semifinals at Ursinus. Trailing by 15 points with just 3:31 to play, the Blue Jays looked like they had one more rally left in them. Polster fueled a 14-4 run with four consecutive three pointers, making it a 74-69 game with 39 seconds to play. The Blue Jays were forced to foul to stop the clock and the Bullets were perfect from the line, hitting all six of their free throw attempts to win 80-69 and end the Blue Jays season.