Johns Hopkins Athletics
BALTIMORE, Md. – Win number 500 will be one to remember for Johns Hopkins men’s basketball coach Bill Nelson as his team rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final 1:01 of regulation to force overtime before going on to defeat Messiah, 65-62, in the consolation game of the Blue Jay Invitational. The longest tenured and winningest coach in program history, Nelson is the 29th coach in NCAA Division III history to reach the milestone.
In his 31st season as a head coach, Nelson is now 500-296 (.635) overall. This marks his 25th season at Hopkins, where his record now stands at 395-243 (.622).
Trailing 54-45 following a Tyler Ritzman lay-up, senior Mike Henrici hit a lay-up of his own to ignite a 13-4 Hopkins run in what turned out to be wild final minute of regulation. The Blue Jays forced a turnover on the Falcons’ next possession and after a pair of offensive rebounds kept the possession alive, Henrici drained a 19-footer to make it a five-point game with 45 ticks on the clock. Josh Hartman hit the back-end of a pair of free throws for Messiah, but Hopkins came right back and Henrici came up big again, hitting from downtown for just his second 3-pointer of the season.
Messiah’s Christyan DeVan went to the line on the next possession and hit both of his shots to make it a 57-52 game with 30 seconds to play. On the Blue Jays’ ensuing possession it was freshman Daniel Corbett’s turn to come up big. Corbett grabbed the rebound off a missed 3 from Henrici and was fouled while shooting a three. He went to the line and calmly drained all three shots to make it a two-point game at 0:14. David Fernandez then hit one of two free throws for Messiah and the lead was three. Hopkins hurried up the court and Corbett was again fouled on a 3-point attempt. He went to the line and hit his first two shots before Messiah called timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Corbett sank his third shot to tie the game with 5.1 seconds left in regulation. The Falcons quickly inbounded and Fernandez got a shot off before the buzzer, but freshman Connor McIntyre swatted it out of bounds as time expired.
Henrici continued his late push, connecting on the Blue Jays’ first shot of overtime to give Hopkins a 60-58 lead, its first lead of the game. DeVan answered for Messiah, tying the game at 3:46. Offensive rebounds once again kept the Blue Jays ensuing possession alive before sophomore Mike Rhoads drove to the basket and was fouled. His shot bounced in and he went on to convert the old-fashioned three-point play to push Hopkins on top 63-60. Fernandez missed the target on the other end and Corbett came up with the rebound. He was then fouled and sank two more free throws to push the lead to five. Trey Ritzman hit a bucket in the paint to make it a 65-62 game with 1:28 to play and that would be the final as Tyler Ritzman missed on a shot from downtown as time expired.
Messiah opened the game on a 6-0 run and would never trail during regulation, leading by as many as nine points in the first and 12 in the second. A three-pointer from Rhoads made it a 10-7 game with 11:50 still to play in the opening half. But Brad Bolen answered for the Falcons with a bucket from deep to kick start a quick 7-1 run. After back-to-back lay-ups from Henrici and sophomore Adam Spengler at the six-minute mark Messiah led 17-12. The Falcons responded with two buckets sandwiched around a pair of free throws from freshman Kyle Mobbs to once again lead by eight. Rhoads came right back with his second triple of the half, but a Jeremiah Runkle bucket with 54 seconds to play sent Messiah into the lockerroom with a 24-17 lead.
Over the first seven minutes of the second half, Hopkins could only manage a pair of free throws and a jumper from Rhoads as Messiah pushed its lead to 12. Hopkins got things going with a free throw from Mobbs and a Rhoads’ lay-up to open an 8-2 run that made it a 37-31 game with 10:03 to play. Messiah kept Hopkins at bay, scoring six straight points to retake a 12-point lead. Hopkins wasn’t going away however, and put together another run, this one an 11-2 streak to cut the deficit to three at 4:25. Henrici fueled the run with six straight points for the Blue Jays.
Messiah would build its lead back to nine over the next three minutes with four different Falcons scoring during the stretch. The turning point for the Blue Jays came with 1:12 on the clock when McIntyre was whistled for an intentional foul on Fernandez. He missed both shots but the Falcons retained possession because of the intentional foul and Tyler Ritzman hit a lay-up to make it a 54-45 game with 1:11 to play. Hopkins would outscore Messiah 20-8 over the remainder of the game.
Rhoads led the Blue Jays with a game-high 18 points, while Henrici had a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards. Corbett finished with a career-high 11 points, going 8-of-8 from the line, and five assists to earn all-tournament team honors. Hopkins shot just 30.0 percent from the floor for the game, but was 86.2 percent (25-of-29) from the line. Messiah was slightly better from the field, shooting 38.2 percent, but went just 16-of-28 from the free throw line. The Falcons were led by Fernandez, who finished with 18 points and was named to the all-tournament team. He was the only Falcon in double-digits.