By Matt Kellam
Hershey—Just one more stop.
That’s what separated Shippensburg from a win and a trip to the elite eight in the PIAA 5A basketball tournament Tuesday night.
Instead, it was Muhlenberg freshman Ruben Rodriquez who drove the lane for the game tying lay-up that forced overtime. The Muhl’s then took over in the extra period to take a 78-68 win and end the Greyhound’s season at 20-9.
“We were that one defensive stop from being in the elite 8,” said Greyhound head coach Ray Staver.
Just as in Friday night’s opening win against Greater Johnson, the Greyhounds and Muhl’s battled back and forth with sixpoints being the largest lead either team could muster.
Muhlenberg took at 19-17 lead at the end of the first when ErronArchie drove the length of the court with 5.5 seconds left to give the Muhl’s the lead. Archie finished the quarter with seven of his 12 points.
Collin Taylor had six to lead the Greyhounds.
Shippensburg led by as many as five in the second quarter before a late run by Muhlenberg put them up by five. A Jeremy Thomas jumper at the buzzer made it 37-34 at the half.
Muhlenberg went cold to start the third quarter and a Thomas three from the corner was followed by one by Isaiah Houser to give Shippensburg a 44-40 lead.
A three by Jordan Rear gave the Muhls the lead back at 45-44 at the end of the quarter.
Momentum swung the Greyhound’s way when Anthony Smith was fouled and a technical was assessed on Muhlenberg’s Joshua Rivera. Smith made both free throws and Isaiah House hit the technical for a four-point play.
A Thomas three on the possession completed a 7-0 run before Tyler Kipp hit a three to cut the lead back to one, 51-50.
A Houser three gave the Greyhounds their largest lead of the half at 60-54 and when Muhlenberg missed on their next possession, Shippensburg had a chance to run time off the clock.
But, a turnover and a missed shot gave the Muhl’s new life and Rodriquez drove the lane and was fouled and completed the three-point play. A Jacob Stoudt three tied the game at 60.
Two made free throws by Taylor with 31.4 seconds to go gave Shippensburg a 62-60 lead before Rodriquez ran time off the clock before driving for the tying bucket.
The overtime did not go Shippensburg’s way from the start. Muhlenberg controlled the tap and buckets by Rear and White made it 66-62.
Anthony Smith’s bucket brought the Greyhounds within two, but another three by Rear gave the Muhl’s a five-point lead.
Two free throws by Smith got Shippensburg back to within four, but untimely turnovers led to points at the foul line for Muhlenberg to ice the game.
“This group worked really hard and I’m just so proud of them,” added Staver. “But this is going to sting for a while because we were so close to playing Friday night.”
Jayden Statum, who scored 13 for the Greyhounds, said, “It was a great experience playing probably the best team we played all year. This loss is going to be heavy for us, but will make us want to win next season even more.”
Notes: Rodriquez led all scorers with 23. All five Shippensburg starters scored in double figures led by Jeremy Thomas with 15.
Muhlenberg 78, Shippensburg 68 OT
Jayden Statum 4 4-4 13, Isaiah Houser 4 2-2 14, Collin Taylor 4 4-6 12, Jeremy Thomas 6 0-1 15, Anthony Smith 4 6-10 14. Totals: 22 16-22 68.
Jacob Stoudt 3 0-0 8, Tyler Kipp 3 2-4 10, T.J. White 3 0-0 8, Erron Archie 5 2-3 12, Ruben Rodriquez 6 10-16 23, Jordan Rear 5 0-0 13, Anthony Espinoza 1 0-0 2, Abdul Conde 1 0-0 2. Totals: 27 14-23 78.
Shippensburg 17 17 11 17 6 68
Muhlenberg 19 18 7 18 16 78
Three point shots: Shippensburg 8 (Houser 4, Thomas 3, Statum) Muhlenberg 10 (Rear 3, Stoudt, Kipp, White 2, Rodriquez)