By Koppany Jordan
Elm Staff Writer
It was just another ordinary Saturday in January. While most Washington College students were at home enjoying break, watching the NFL playoff games, or hanging with friends the WC men’s basketball team was preparing to take the court against #14 Franklin and Marshall.
The Shoremen were still hungering for their first victory. Coming off a loss to Dickinson four days earlier, WC was determined to not let another team slip by as easily.
Senior forward Charlie McShane opened the game with the first points. McShane was on all night, dropping a team-high 18 points. McShane’s example set the tone for a hot start and eventually the Shoremen would build a lead of 16-8 with 13:01 on the clock during the first half.
At first, the Diplomats seemed to have trouble keeping up as they missed shots and began to have too many turnovers, coughing the ball up 20 times throughout the game. But they quickly began to rebound and make critical shots to close the gap. The Shoremen fought hard to maintain and defend their lead. WC went into halftime holding on to a narrow 31-28 gap. Going into the lockerroom at the half WC seemed to have stunned the Diplomats.
With the opening of the second half, the Shoremen knew it was their time for a victory. The intesity began to increaase as other teams fought for control of the ball.
With the Diplomat’s Morgan Lee on fire, scoring a game-high 23 points, the Shoremen began to fall behind on offense. With 7:30 to go, WC was running a five point deficit, and Franklin and Marshall led for the first time in the game.
With six minutes to go, the Shoremen broke free from their slump after sophomore Stephen Poarch grabbed his own rebound on a miss and put WC up 54-53. They would not surrender the lead for the remainder of the game.
With a final missed layup by Franklin and Marshall, the Shoremen broke through and finally earned their first victory of the season with a score of 62-61. Over the number 14 ranked team in the country, no less. Adding their first mark in the W column this season, the Shoremen won their fourth game in five years against a ranked opponent.
The huge win was a model of team effort. Everyone pitched in. Senior Kevin Cunningham led WC with seven rebounds. Poarch, on top of his critical basket, led the team with four assists (to go along with his second-best 14 points). The Shoremen as a whole shot an amazing 51.1 percent from the floor. Even more impressively their shot percentage rose from behind the arc, shooting 55.6 percent on three pointers. Perhaps the most telling statistic however was the fact that WC only turned the ball over 14 times, or six times less than the highly touted Diplomats.
If the idea that this was a big win has nt been fully explained, perhaps one last anecdote will get the point across.
President Mitchell Reiss attended the game, and was sent campus-wide email about the experience.
“On paper, it may have seemed a most improbable victory, but the determination shown by our student-athletes demonstrated a belief in themselves that belied their circumstances,” said President Reiss. “Further, that belief in themselves and in each other reflected a moral courage capable of exceeding others’ expectations and overcoming obstacles, which will well serve these young men throughout their lives.”
Perhaps the subject line of the email explains it best. It simply reads, “An Inspirational Victory.’
Come see the Shoremen back in action on Feb. 6 when they compete again with Swarthmore at 8 p.m. for the chance to witness yet another great victory.
Senior Day is Feb. 9 as WC takes on Gettysburg College, which is sure to be an emotional night for a team that has been through so much.