March 7, 2009

Courtesy Franklin & Marshall Athletics

LANCASTER, Pa. - After surviving a late second-half scare, Franklin & Marshall was able to prevail with a 65-63 victory over Brandeis in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. With the win, the Diplomats (23-5) advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the 12th time under head coach Glenn Robinson.

With 3:17 left to play and down by 12, the Judges (18-9) scored 11 points over the next 2:50 to cut the deficit to one at 64-63. Georgio Milligan drew the foul and hit the front end of two from the line with 27 seconds left, while the defense stopped Brandeis on two tries from the field for the two-point victory.

The frontcourt did it once again for F&M. Mike Baker posted his fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. James McNally scored a team-high 19 points for his sixth consecutive double figure game.

Preseason All-American Steve DeLuca led the night with 21 points, scoring six points in the final five minutes and hitting the final three-pointer with 1:29 left to pull the Judges within one. Kevin Olsen added 13 points.

The Diplomats went 5-for-6 from the floor to start the game, while Brandeis opened 0-for-3 for the 11-1 lead at 16:23. The Judges turned it around with an 8-0 run behind two triples by DeLuca and two free throws from Andre Roberson to make it 11-9.

At 16-14, McNally scored the next seven straight points and Sal Salvati banked in the triple for a 26-14 lead. Baker followed with his first three-pointer of the season to give F&M its largest margin of the half at 33-16. Baker also scored the final four points to help the Diplomats take a comfortable lead into the final half.

The lead grew to as much as 20 points at 57-37 off a Baker jumper with 9:23 left in the second half. The Diplomats kept the double digit advantage until the 6:10 mark when Kenny Small made the fast-break layup off the steal at 58-50.

McNally went 1-for-2 from the line and came back with the layup, while Milligan connected on two free throws and Anthony Brooks got another for a 64-52 lead with 3:17 remaining.

Rich Magee started the 11-0 run with a layup, before Olson, Roberson and DeLuca each hit triples to make the three minutes interesting.

The Diplomats shot 61.5 percent from the floor in the first half. Brandeis outscored F&M 39-28 in the second half. The win also marks the first ever over the Judges, having lost in the first only meeting 115-77 back in 1972.

F&M will take on Salem St. on Friday, March 13. Game location and time to be determined.