By Pat Mariboe
Elm Staff Writer
Freethrows and rebounds were the reasons the Shoremen pulled off a massive upset over No. 16 Franklin & Marshall that sent Cain gymnasium and the Centennial Conference standings into hysteria.
The F&M Diplomats, who entered the game with a 17-3 overall record on the season and 10-3 record in the Centennial Conference, intended to improve their current third place position in the CC standings. The Shoremen, who stood in second to last place in the conference standings, were looking to win their fifth game over a ranked opponent in the last seven years, four of which came against the Diplomats in the past six seasons.
The Shoremen brought out the heat in the first half, as they outplayed and outshot the Diplomats before halftime as they had a 37-32 lead. Drury, who scored 10 points in the loss against McDaniel, proved vital in the game as he put up 19 points to give the Shoremen a 59-54 lead with 10 minutes to go in the game. Junior Dave Knox also scored 19 points for the Shoremen and hit an important three pointer with less than a minute to go to give Washington College a 70-69 lead. After a missed three pointer, Drury managed to grab the loose ball and was fouled in the process. Drury managed to make both of his free throws to end the game at 71-71 in regulation and had the game go into overtime.
Overtime proved to be a defensive struggle as both teams found it difficult to crack the other. Possession after possesion the Shoremen and Dips found themselves firing up threes at the end of the shot clock. The Shoremen, however, made the misses count as they collected numerous offensive boards and managed to consistently get to the free throw line.
Freshman Joey Shelton found himself at the free throw line with 17 seconds in OT after he was fouled on a jumper. Shelton made both of his free throws, giving the Shoremen the 81-78 lead.
“I wasn’t nervous. I have been in situations like that before, and I love them,” Shelton said. “I knew that those free-throws would make or break the game, so I wanted to stay calm and knock the shots down.”
The Diplomats, down by three points with only seconds to play, decided to drive for a layup and score, leaving them down by one with half a second remaining. The Dips pressed high up the court to try and steal the ball back off the inbound pass, but the Shoremen completed the pass as the clock expired and the Shoremen celebrated the remarkable 81-80 win that will certainly be remembered for years to come.
“I think for me, seeing that great win Saturday shows me what I am capable to do for the team, but also what our team is capable of doing when we have to compete with the good teams,” freshman Tas Dixon said. “I think the main thing is that we all compete against each other in practice to get ready for game day, but that if we keep working hard, we have something special to do not only for the rest of the season, but more to come.”