Johns Hopkins Men's Basketball Season Review Notebook
April 7, 2010
The 2009-10 season was an up and down one for the Johns Hopkins men's basketball team that saw the Blue Jays finish at 12-13 overall and 8-10 in the Centennial Conference. The season was highlighted by a third place finish in the Pride of Maryland Championship, championship game appearances in the Holiday Inn Airport Tournament and the Blue Jay Invitational and a win over 15th-ranked Franklin & Marshall on the road.
The season opened with the fifth annual Pride of Maryland Championship presented by M&T Bank as Hopkins hosted cross-town rival Stevenson in the opening game. Thirteen different players scored, while seniors Andrew Farber-Miller and Pat O'Connell each had a double-double as Hopkins rolled over Stevenson, 75-53. The outcome was never in doubt in the second half, as the Blue Jays quickly turned an eight-point halftime lead into a 21-point lead and didn't look back. The following day, Hopkins dropped a close on to Hood in the semifinals, 65-62. Trailing early, Hopkins rallied to take a 33-31 lead at the break. But midway through the second, the Blazers put together a quick 6-2 run that gave them a 50-49 lead, which they would not relinquish. Four different players finished in double-digits for the Blue Jays, led by O'Connell and junior Mike Henrici, who each had 15 points. Hopkins then faced off against Salisbury in the third place game, with the Blue Jays coming out on top 58-53. Hopkins sealed the win with four free throws in the final 14 seconds. Trailing by just three points early, the Blue Jays got a Danny Gergen trey and a layup from freshman Adam Spengler to take the lead for good with 10:37 to play in the first half. Gergen led all scorers with a then career-high 15 points, while Farber-Miller posted his second double-double in three games with 12 points and 12 boards. O'Connell was selected to the all-tournament team for the second straight year after averaging 12.33 points, 7.67 rebounds and 3.33 assists for the tournament.
Ten days later, Hopkins was back in action as the Blue Jays traveled to Gettysburg to open Centennial Conference play against the Bullets. Coming out of the half with the game tied at 27 apiece, the Bullets lit up the nets in the second, shooting a scorching 80.0 percent from the field to beat the Blue Jays, 70-61. After a first half that saw five ties and 12 lead changes, the second half was a different story as Gettysburg took a two-point lead on a pair of free throws from Brendan Hager and did not trail again. O'Connell punched up 18 points to pace the Hopkins' offense. Hopkins then traveled to Dickinson and got back in the win column with a 66-53 win. Holding a slim five-point lead just one minute into the second half, Henrici hit a layup followed by an old-fashioned three-point play from Farber-Miller and the Blue Jays were off to the races. That ignited a 22-9 run that put the game out of reach with 8:40 still to play as Hopkins lead never dipped below 11 points. Sophomore Tim McCarty was the only Blue Jay in double figures, finishing with 12 points.
Hopkins then took time for final exams and the holiday before getting back to court against Pitt-Bradford on December 29 for the Holiday Inn Airport Tournament. It took the Blue Jays about 10 minutes to shake off the rust of their 24-day hiatus and they trailed 21-15 midway through the first. Junior John Alberici hit for five straight points to kick-start an 11-point Hopkins run that saw the Blue Jays take the lead for good. Hopkins would stretch its lead to as much as 25 points in the second half, fueled by a 63.6 percent showing from the floor, before winning 79-56. Gergen led the Blue Jays with a career-high 21 points, as freshman Mike Rhoads and Alberici also finished in double figures with 14 and 11, respectively. Hopkins then faced off against Albright in the title game, falling 68-52. After falling behind early, Hopkins rebounded to take a 10-8 lead, but it was short-lived as the Lions responded with a quick 8-0 run to take the lead back for good. Henrici led the Blue Jays with a game-high 12 points and Gergen and Rhoads were each named to the all-tournament team.
Hopkins returned home for its third tournament of the season, the 19th annual Blue Jay Invitational. The Blue Jays used a 10-0 run in the closing two minutes of overtime to defeat Mary Washington, 77-69 in the opening round. It was a back-and-forth game that saw six ties and 10 lead changes, but it was Hopkins' clutch shooting in the overtime that sealed it as the Blue Jays went 3-of-4 from the field and 7-of-8 from the line. Trailing early in the second half, Hopkins retook the lead courtesy of a conventional three-point play from O'Connell. The Blue Jays would hold that lead for nearly 16 minutes until a pair of Brandon Altmann free throws tied the game at 62 apiece and forced the overtime. Hopkins then ran into a tough Baruch team in the championship game, losing 68-46 after shooting just 21.4 percent from the field. Baruch opened up its four-point lead midway through the first half with a 16-5 run to end the half and take a 34-19 lead into the locker room. It was all Bearcats in the second half, as the Blue Jays could get no closer than nine. Gergen and Alberici each chipped in 10 points to lead Hopkins as Gergen earned his second all-tournament team honor in the last week.
Hopkins returned to Centennial Conference action the following week, hosting Muhlenberg. The Mules rallied from a five-point deficit in the final 90 seconds to force overtime where they beat the Blue Jays, 65-57. Following a Henrici jumper with just over three minutes to play in the extra session, Muhlenberg answered with a game-ending 10-0 run to take the win, while holding Hopkins to just 1-of-8 from the field. Henrici led the Blue Jays with 12 points, while Gergen and McCarty each had 10. Three days later, the Blue Jays were off to Collegeville, where they haven't won since 2007. Unfortunately this trip was no different as Ursinus made three of four free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal a 60-54 win. Gergen tied the game up with a triple with 2:07 on the clock, but it was the Blue Jays' final bucket of the game, as they couldn't convert on their last five shots. Henrici and Gergen each punched up 11 points, while O'Connell swiped three steals to move into second in school history in that category.
Hopkins got back in the win column, snapping a three-game skid with a 64-58 win over visiting Swarthmore. The Blue Jays clutch free throw shooting, going 10-of-12 in the final two minutes, held off a late Garnet rally. Swarthmore had tied the game at 40 apiece with 11 minutes still to play, but Hopkins answered with a rally of its own, pushing out to a 10-point lead with just under two minutes on the clock. The Blue Jays relied on their free throw shooting from there to hold on for the win. Farber-Miller led the Blue Jays with 14 points and six boards, with O'Connell (13) and Rhoads (11) also finishing in double figures. Hopkins followed that up with an impressive 55-40 win over host Haverford. The Fords took the first lead of the game off a Sam Permutt layup just 19 seconds. It would be their only lead of the game as the Blue Jays held the home team to just 10 first half points, while taking a 23-10 lead into the break. The second half was much closer, with Hopkins outscoring Haverford by just two points, but the halftime deficit proved to be too much for the Fords. Henrici scored a game-high 16 points for the Blue Jays and Farber-Miller posted another double-double with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. O'Connell meanwhile had seven steals, just two shy of the school single-game record.
The Blue Jays followed that up with a 52-50 come-from-behind win over Dickinson at Goldfarb. Freshman Peter Scanlon sank a pair of free throws with just 0.6 seconds on the clock to cap 12-point Blue Jay rally. Hopkins trailed by as many as 14 points early in the second half and was still down 12 with 7:25 to play. The Blue Jays made just two field goals in that final 7:25, but went 13-of-18 from the free throw line to fuel the rally. Both Hopkins' field goals during that stretch were three-pointers from Rhoads, who nailed four from downtown on the day. Rhods and Farber-Miller each finished with a game-high 12 points.
Hopkins took a tough loss the following week, losing 68-48 at Washington College in the Blue Jays worst loss in the series since 1988. Trailing by just one point at the half, the Blue Jays couldn't keep up with the hot-shooting Shoremen in the second. Washington College shot 62.1 percent from the field, compared to just 31.8 percent for Hopkins, as the Shoremen outscored the Blue Jays 45-24 in the second stanza. Farber-Miller scored a game-high 22 points, while Rhoads had 11 as the only other Blue Jay in double-digits. The Blue Jays dropped their second straight three days later as the host Mules went wire-to-wire for a 61-48 win. The Mules opened the game on a 16-5 run and withstood a Blue Jay rally midway through the half to take a 27-20 lead at the break. Hopkins came out and cut the deficit to just five to start the second, but that's as close as the Blue Jays would get.
Returning home Hopkins nearly upset 17th-ranked Franklin & Marshall, but fell just short in a 53-50 loss. The Blue Jays led the Diplomats by five with just over five minutes to play, but a Mike Baker bucket ignited a 13-5 game-ending run for F&M. James McNally gave the Dips a one-point lead with 2:16 to play, but Farber-Miller took the lead back for the Blue Jays with a tip-in with 1:25 on the clock. Hopkins was forced to foul after a pair of missed buckets and F&M went 5-of-6 from the line, with a Steve Tolliver layup tacked on to give the Dips a six-point advantage. O'Connell hit nothing but net on a 23-footer at the buzzer off quick inbounds pass from Rhoads to account for the final score. Hopkins dropped its fourth straight that weekend with a 74-66 loss to visiting Ursinus. The Blue Jays led late, but couldn't hold on as the Bears rallied with a 14-5 run to end the game. Ursinus went 10-of-12 from the charity stripe in the final three minutes to seal the comeback. The Blue Jays got 14 points apiece from Henrici and Alberici, but it wasn't enough as the Bears shot the lights out at 62.5 percent for the game.
Hopkins beat rival McDaniel at home to open February for the Blue Jays first win over the Green Terror at Goldfarb since December 6, 2005. With the game tied at 58-58 with just 44 seconds to play, O'Connell hit the front-end of a pair of free throws, with Alberici grabbing the rebound on the second and the Blue Jays called timeout. Hopkins then went 6-of-6 from the line in the final 36 seconds, while forcing three missed McDaniel field goals, to hold on for the win. Alberici paced the Blue Jays with a career-high-tying 17 points. Two days later, Gettysburg pulled away late in a hot shooting affair at Goldfarb, to beat Hopkins, 72-65. The Bullets shot 69.4 percent from the field, while the Blue Jays hit at a 50.0 percent clip. Gettysburg led by three at the half and did not surrender its lead in the second, as the Bullets led by as many as 13 points. O'Connell led three players in double figures with a season-high 20 points.
Just 11 days after meeting at Goldfarb, Hopkins traveled to Westminster and earned a 65-56 win over McDaniel to complete the season sweep of the Green Terror. The first 10 minutes of the second half were back-and-forth, but a Henrici bucket in the paint gave Hopkins a one-point lead, a lead it would not relinquish, with 10:44 to play. The Blue Jays led by as much as 10 with just over three minutes to play, before the Terror began whittling away. McDaniel got the deficit to four after a Woody Butler layup with 36 ticks on the clock, but Hopkins sank five of six free throws from then out to hold for the win. O'Connell turned in his second straight 20-point performance, while Farber-Miller had a double-double with 17 and 10, respectively.
Hopkins pulled its record to .500 that weekend with a 54-45 win over visiting Haverford in the annual Wall-O'Mahony game. The Blue Jays used a 14-2 game-ending run to rally from a three-point deficit to sweep the Fords. Hopkins held Haverford scoreless in the final four minutes to aid the comeback. An old-fashioned three-point play by Henrici with 2:54 to play proved to be the difference as that gave Hopkins a two-point lead. An offensive foul on the Fords' next possession gave the ball back to the Blue Jays and with time winding down on the shot clock, O'Connell hit nothing but net on a 23-footer to ignite the Hopkins' bench. O'Connell went on to earn Wall-O'Mahony MVP honors for the game. The following Monday night, Swarthmore held Hopkins to just one field goal in the final two minutes and went 8-of-10 from the free throw line to rally for a 55-51 win. The loss snapped the Blue Jays' 11-game win streak over the Garnet and was their first loss at Tarble Pavilion since February 4, 2004. Farber-Miller led the Blue Jays with a season-high 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and 9-of-9 from the line.
Two days later, Hopkins rebounded in a big way with a 46-45 win over 15th-ranked Franklin & Marshall. Entering the game, the Diplomats were averaging 71.2 points per game, while the Blue Jays ranked 11th in the nation in scoring defense at 59.8 points per game. Something had to give. And it did, as Hopkins held F&M to just 45 points, its lowest total since a 64-43 loss to Lincoln on January 3, 2007. Trailing by four after a layup from Farber-Miller, the Diplomats rallied to take a 45-44 lead with just nine seconds on the clock. O'Connell was fouled just three seconds later and he hit both shots to give the Blue Jays a one-point lead. Anthony Brooks got a shot off at the buzzer, but it bounced off the rim as the Blue Jays claimed the upset. The win was just the third for Hopkins at the Mayser Center since the conference began in 1993-94.
Hopkins closed out the season at home that weekend, hosting playoff-bound Washington College. Andrew Chambers hit a pull-up three from the top of the key to give the Shoremen a two-point lead with 22 ticks on the clock. On the ensuing possession, O'Connell kicked the ball out to Henrici, who drained a 17-foot baseline jumper with nine seconds to play to tie the game. Washington College quickly pushed the ball up court on the inbounds and Chambers threw up a three-pointer with time winding down that banked off the backboard, ending the careers of Matt Dapas, Farber-Miller and O'Connell in heartbreaking fashion. The following week, O'Connell capped his standout career by earning Second Team All-Centennial Conference honors, a first in his career.
Johns Hopkins Tops Muhlenberg, 63-59