ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. — It was the tale of two halves in a battle of top-15 squads as No. 9 St. Mary’s College of Maryland posted a 63-57 non-conference victory against No. 14 Franklin & Marshall College (Pa.) on Monday night.
St. Mary’s head coach Chris Harney recorded his 150th career victory, all at his alma mater. 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.
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 percent shooting effort in the first half, including holding the Diplomats scoreless from behind the 3-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 Brendan McFall led all players with 14 points and Devin Spencer chipped in 10. Spencer finished with 18 points on 5 of 10 shooting while McFall notched a career-best 16 points for the second consecutive game as he was 8 of 14 from the field.
Franklin & Marshall (11-2) flipped the script in the second half as the Diplomats outscored St. Mary’s 43-26. F&M trimmed a 25-point deficit to 51-46 in a 15-minute span, holding the Seahawks to just five made field goals in the half. 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.
F&M junior forward Ed Early led all scorers with 20 points while senior forward Hayk Gyokchyan, who entered the game as the Diplomats’ leading scorer with a 19.4 average, was held to just three second-half points.