March 18, 2009

Courtesy of Franklin & Marshall Athletics

LANCASTER, Pa. - The Franklin & Marshall men's basketball team punched their ticket to the national semifinals for the fifth time in program history with a 70-60 win over DeSales in the NCAA quarterfinals at the Mayser Center on Saturday. The trip to Salem marks F&M's first since the 1999-2000 season.

The Diplomats (26-5) shot 51.7 percent in the first half to take a 37-22 lead and held off the Bulldogs (25-6) second-half rally to bring their (25-6) fairytale season to an end.

Freshman Georgio Milligan picked up F&M in the final five minutes of the game, scoring eight of his team-high 21 points during that stretch to halt DeSales comeback attempt. Milligan went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, while adding four steals, three assists and two blocks.

"I was impressed with his shots throughout the game," said Head Coach, Glenn Robinson. "He hit the early three to break the ice."

The shots fell early and often for the Diplomats. James McNally shot 87 percent from the field, going 7-of-8 for 16 points. The sophomore tallied 14 of those points in the first half, missing his only field goal at the 4:02 mark.

The Bulldogs had two players in double figures on the night. Ed Lapinski led with a game-high 23 points and Darnell Braswell added 16.

The Diplomats and DeSales went basket-for-basket to start the game. F&M went 6-for-6 from the floor, while the Bulldogs missed their first shot, but came back to drain the next six straight.

Over the next nine minutes, the Diplomats went on a 16-2 run to jump ahead 30-16. Danny Selig (Silver Spring, MD/Washington International) came off the bench and hit back-to-back jumpers in the paint, before Clay Scovill knocked down a triple and McNally completed the three-point play for the commanding lead.

After Anthony Brooks made a three-pointer to push the lead to 18 points, DeSales went on a 12-0 run to cut the deficit to eight at 42-34. That lead was short-lived because F&M came back with an 11-4 spurt to get back its double-digit advantage.

The Bulldogs tried once more to rally, getting within six points at 60-54 with 2:39 remaining. Milligan regained the momentum for the Diplomats with a triple on the next possession and followed with a jumper for a nine-point cushion with 59 seconds left.

Milligan's 21 points ties a career high and McNally's 16 points marks the 28th time this season he has registered double figures.

F&M departs for the Championship weekend on Wednesday. Salem, Virginia is the NCAA Division III's Championship city. Salem has awarded 53 NCAA Championships.