Box Score February 27, 2003
Big second half vaults Grove City past Titans in semis, 91-60
GROVE CITY, Pa. -- After leading by just two late in the first half against Westminster Thursday night in the Presidents' Athletic Conference men's basketball semifinals, the Grove City Wolverines (17-8) took control in the second half with a 21-4 run en route to a 91-60 triumph over the Titans.
Grove City will now visit Thiel in Saturday's PAC championship game. The Tomcats defeated Bethany, 81-77, Thursday evening in Greenville.
The Wolverines held a 45-42 lead with 15 minutes left when sophomore guard J.D. Collar (Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson) drained a three-pointer. Following an inside basket from Westminster center Greg Foster, sophomore forward Nate Maurer (Pittsburgh, Pa./Linsly School) buried consecutive threes from the corner on his way to a game-high 30 points. Collar, who finished with 10 points, added a lay-in and Maurer followed with a short jumper.
Grove City's lead eventually reached 20, 66-46, on a three-point goal from senior guard Andy Vlajkovich (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield). During that span, the Titans (11-16) went nearly six minutes without a point from the field.
The Wolverines then sealed the win with a 16-3 spurt in the final four minutes. Collar collected a three-point play while Maurer scored his final two points on a slam dunk. Freshman swingman David Hayes (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Scioto) drilled four straight foul shots while freshman guard Eric Tinstman (New Castle, Pa./Laurel) hit a pair of free throws. Senior guard Geoff Gehring (Madison, Ohio/Madison) capped the run with a three from the top of the key.
Sophomore point guard Mike Lukcic (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic) sparked Grove City in the first half with consecutive threes, erasing an early Westminster lead. Maurer and Tanner Prosser (Pittsburgh, Pa./Brentwood) each tallied five straight points as the Wolverines raced to a 23-14 lead. Prosser finished with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting.
Grove City turned the ball over just nine times and out-rebounded Westminster 38-34. The Titans shot just 10-of-35 (29 percent) in the second half and 32 percent (21 for 65) in the game. Foster led Westminster with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
The Wolverines sank 21 of 24 foul shots (87.5 percent). Grove City won all three meetings with the Titans in the 2002-03 season. The Wolverines will look to claim their first PAC title in four years Saturday in Greenville against PAC regular season co-champion Thiel. Thiel swept both regular-season meetings from Grove City.
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