St. Mary's City, Md. – It was the tale of two halves in a battle of Top 15 squads as the No. 9 St. Mary's College of Maryland men's basketball team posted a 63-57 non-conference win over No. 14 Franklin & Marshall College Monday night.
In securing its 14 consecutive victory, St. Mary's eighth-year head coach Chris Harney '97 recorded his 150th career win. Harney, the program's all-time wins leader, now owns a career mark of 150-63, guiding the Seahawks to four NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship Tournament appearances and three Capital Athletic Conference tournament championship titles.
Guards Devin Spencer (Baltimore, Md./Towson Catholic) and Brendan McFall (Poolesville, Md./Poolesville) were the only Seahawks to score in double figures tonight. Spencer put up 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting while McFall notched a career-best 16 points for the second straight game as he was 8-of-14 from the field.
The Seahawks (14-1) demonstrated why they rank 14th in Division III in field goal percentage defense as St. Mary's stymied Franklin & Marshall to a dismal 25.0% shooting effort in the first half, including holding them scoreless from behind the three-point line (0-for-7). The Seahawks only missed nine shots in the first 20 minutes for a 62.5-field goal percentage, including a 3-of-5 effort from downtown. Sixteen of the home team's 37 first-half points came off of 10 Diplomat turnovers.
St. Mary's boasted a 37-14 halftime advantage as McFall led all players with 14 points and Spencer chipped in 10. Junior forward Ed Early (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing) paced F&M with six points off the bench.
Franklin & Marshall (11-2) flipped the script in the second stanza as the Diplomats outscored St. Mary's 43-26. F&M knocked down a 25-point deficit to just a 51-46 setback over a 15-minute span, keeping the Seahawks to just five made field goals over the final 20 minutes. At one point, St. Mary's was held scoreless for nearly six minutes.
The Diplomats capitalized with 17 points on 14 St. Mary's miscues plus 26 points in the paint to the Seahawks' eight in the second half. F&M also controlled the glass with a 37-27 margin. Early finished the night with 20 points while senior forward Hayk Gyokchyan (Beirut, Lebanon/The Lawrenceville School), who entered tonight's game as F&M's leading scorer with a 19.4 scoring average, was held to just three second-half points.
The Seahawks will be back in action this Saturday, January 12 when St. Mary's travels to Dover, Delaware to take on Wesley College in Capital Athletic Conference action. Tipoff is set for 4:00 pm.
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