BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – ‘Be quick but don’t hurry.‘ – John Wooden.
When push came to shove, the Lebanon Valley College men’s basketball team stopped letting the game come to it, and started chasing. The Flying Dutchmen’s patience slowly turned to panic.
On Wednesday night at Lou Sorrentino Gymnasium, during the semifinals of the four-team Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth playoffs, Lebanon Valley may have been guilty of trying too hard during crunch time, and the result was a 71-67 loss to Arcadia. After opening a 36-28 halftime lead, the Flying Dutchmen were outscored 43-31 over the second 20 minutes of action.
LVC really struggled with its half-court offensive execution down the stretch, as Arcadia used a late 12-5 run to open a 71-64 margin with ten seconds remaining. The Flying Dutchmen hurried on the offensive end, after sophomore guard Sam Light had drilled a three-pointer with 3;11 to go knot the score at 59.
The loss dropped second-seeded Lebanon Valley to 16-10 overall and eliminated it from the MAC Commonwealth championship and NCAA Division Three tournament discussion. The Flying Dutchmen, who could still qualify for the ECAC tournament, were making their first postseason appearance in five seasons.
With the win, Arcadia moved to 17-9 and into Saturday’s MAC Commonwealth title tilt.
During the regular season, LVC had beaten the Knights twice – 83-74 in Glenside on December 2nd, and 93-75 in Annville on February 13.
“It’s a tough loss,” said Lebanon Valley head coach Brad McAlester, whose club had entered the postseason riding a four-game winning streak. “We had control of the game, and let it slip away. We didn’t show patience. We panicked. When they needed to, they scored on almost every possession.
“The difference (down the stretch) was they scored and we didn’t,” continued McAlester. “We struggled to stop them. They got some key offensive rebounds. And they’re a good foul shooting team.”
After LVC had led for a good portion through the middle of the contest, the Knights established a number of four-point leads 11 minutes into the second half. But a Light free throw pulled the Flying Dutchmen to within 53-52, then his floater in the lane with 4:38 to go tied the score at 56.
“He got a good look,” said McAlester of the Light three-ball that tied the game at 59. “Sam can score. He’s instant offense. But we’ve got to go down and defend.
“Yeah, we were confident,” McAlester continued. “We thought we could win this game. No question. We had the tempo.”
Lebanon Valley’s biggest lead of the game came at 43-32, 3:07 into the second half, on a lay-in by Andy Orr. But over the next six minutes, the Knights outscored the Flying Dutchmen 17-2 to take a 49-45 edge.
“We didn’t defend well at all,” said McAlester. “They shot 50 percent, and got to the rim.
“We beat them twice,” added McAlester. “We knew what they were doing. They’ve got some guys who can score, and they scored.”
Light led Lebanon Valley’s scoring with 16 points, but he did it on six-for-17 shooting from the field. Zach Mrozek contributed 15 points to the LVC cause, and Orr, the conference’s leading scorer, was held to 14 points, some seven below his season average.
Arcadia out rebounded the Flying Dutchmen 35-29.
“The first game we knocked them out of their zone,” said McAlester. “But tonight we struggled getting the ball to Andy. He could get behind the zone.
“Andy had a fair game,” McAlester added. “Every team tries to take him out of the game, and we didn’t do a good job of getting him the ball.”
The teams traded baskets through the early moments of the game. Light gave the Flying Dutchmen an 8-6 lead, and a Mrozek jumper made it a 10-8 game.
“We were moving the ball early,” said McAlester. “We showed patience on offense and we defended.
“When we’ve had troubles this year, it’s been with patience on offense,” continued McAlester. “Seeing what’s there, and taking what’s there. Not having a true point guard hurts.”
Nursing a one-point edge, Lebanon Valley extended its lead to 19-14, thanks to a lay-in from Ricky Bugg and a lay-up from Will Boccanfuso. Later in the half, an Orr tap, a Mrozek charity toss, two foul shots from Bugg and a Mrozek jumper added up to a 7-0 run and a 30-20 Flying Dutchmen advantage.
“It’s a young team,” said McAlester. “It’s a good team. Our best players are young. We’ve got one senior. We’ll be back. It’s all positive.
“We’ve still got a shot at the ECAC tournament,” McAlester continued. “We’re 16-10. Hopefully we’ll be one of those eight teams. For a young team, that’s good.”
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Arcadia 71, Lebanon Valley 67
John Landro 2 0-0 5, Josh Scott 1 0-2 2, Ryan Kelley 5 6-6 16, Alex Cohen 6 0-0 12, Evan Slone 6 0-2 12, Amaar Celemente 0 0-0 0, Brandon Thompson 4 4-4 15, Keith Bacote 0 0-2 0, Kyle Reilly 2 4-4 9. Totals — 26 14-18 71.
Lebanon Valley (67)
Sam Light 6 1-2 16, Travis Conrad 1 0-0 3, Andy Orr 6 2-3 14, Will Boccanfuso 2 4-4 8, Zach Mrozek 6 1-2 15, Ricky Bugg 3 2-2 9, Kyler Burke 1 0-0 2, Caleb Barwin 0 0-0 0. Totals — 25 10-13 67.
Arcadia_ 28_ 43 _ — _ 71
Lebanon Valley _ 36_ 31 — _ 67
3-point goals — Arc 5 (Thompson 3, Reilly, Landro) LVC 7 (Light 3, Mrozek 2, Conrad, Bugg).
2015-16 Lebanon Valley College Men’s Basketball Schedule
|Penn St. Harrisburg Tip-Off Tournament|
|11/14/2015||Roanoke College||Middletown, Pa.||W 101-98
|11/15/2015||Penn State Harrisburg||Middletown, Pa.||L 60-61
|Rinso Marquette Tournament|
|11/20/2015||Wilkes University vs. Rowan University||Annville, Pa.||6 p.m.|
|11/20/2015||Penn State Abington||Annville, Pa.||W 84-72
|11/21/2015||Wilkes Unversity vs. Penn State Abington||Annville, Pa.||1 p.m.|
|11/21/2015||Rowan University||Annville, Pa.||W 92-85
|11/24/2015||Misericordia University||Dallas, Pa.||L 65-68
|11/29/2015||Moravian College||Annville, Pa.||L 81-86
|12/2/2015||*||Arcadia University||Glenside, Pa.||W 83-74
|12/5/2015||*||Albright College||Annville, Pa.||W 89-72
|12/9/2015||Marymount University||Annville, Pa.||W 76-65
|12/12/2015||*||Hood College||Frederick, Md.||L 71-81
|12/21/2015||*||Alvernia University||Reading, Pa.||W 74-62
|12/30/2015||Marywood University||Scranton, Pa.||W 78-58
|1/6/2016||*||Stevenson University||Annville, Pa.||W 82-74
|1/9/2016||Wilkes University||Wilkes-Barre, Pa.||W 88-74
|1/13/2016||*||Widener University||Annville, Pa.||W 78-69
|1/16/2016||*||Lycoming College||Williamsport, Pa.||L 87-96
|1/20/2016||*||Messiah College||Annville, Pa.||L 51-64
|1/25/2016||*||Albright College||Reading, Pa.||W 60-53
|1/27/2016||*||Hood College||Annville, Pa.||L 80-83
|2/3/2016||*||Widener University||Chester, Pa.||L 73-75
|2/6/2016||Alumni Game||Annville, Pa.||11 a.m.|
|Hot Dog Frank Day|
|2/6/2016||*||Alvernia University||Annville, Pa.||L 82-86
|2/10/2016||*||Stevenson University||Stevenson, Md.||W 64-56
|2/13/2016||*||Arcadia University||Annville, Pa.||W 93-75
|2/16/2016||*||Messiah College||Grantham, Pa.||W 72-67
|2/20/2016||*||Lycoming College||Annville, Pa.||W 76-70
|MAC Commonwealth Tournament Semifinal|
|2/24/2016||Arcadia University||Annville, Pa.||L 67-71
Middle Atlantic Conference
Final Commonwealth Standings