February 28, 2008
W&J edges Grove City, 64-63
GROVE CITY, Pa. -- Washington & Jefferson junior center Josip Lucic-Jozak's putback with 2.3 seconds left in regulation vaulted the Presidents to a 64-63 victory over host Grove City in the semifinals of the 2008 Presidents' Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Championship Tournament Thursday night at the Grove City College Arena.
Third-seeded W&J (14-13) advances to Saturday night's PAC championship game at Bethany. Bethany defeated Thomas More in the other Thursday semifinal, 105-98.
Grove City led 63-60 with 30 seconds left after senior forward Bobby Turner (New Castle, Pa./Laurel) sank a pair of free throws. Lucic-Jozak cut the lead to to one with 16.9 left by also hitting two free throws. Grove City then turned the ball over on the subsequent inbounds play, giving W&J a shot at victory.
Brian Felker's baseline jumper missed the mark but Lucic-Jozak grabbed the rebound on the weakside and put back the miss with 2.3 seconds left. Following a timeout, Grove City inbounded the ball but W&J's Wahab Owolabi deflected the pass and the Wolverines could not get off a shot.
Lucic-Jozak finished with 18 points. Albert Varacallo led W&J with a game-high 21 points, including four three-point goals.
Senior guard Ryan Gerber (Baltic, Ohio/Garaway) paced Grove City (17-10) with 20 points while junior guard Ryan Gibson (North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) added 14. Turner finished with 10. Senior guard Shawn Carr (New Castle, Pa./Mohawk) grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds but W&J owned a 38-27 edge on the glass. Thirteen of W&J's rebounds came at the offensive end.
W&J led 30-23 with 4:48 left in the first half but Grove City closed the period with a 10-2 run. Junior guard Joe McCoy (Newark, Ohio/Newark) drilled a three-pointer with 46 seconds left to give Grove City a 33-32 halftime lead. In the second half, Grove City stretched its lead to 50-42 midway through the period but W&J countered with a 9-0 run. Varacallo's jumper with 7:00 left put the Presidents ahead 51-50.
Grove City reclaimed the lead moments later and then stretched it to 58-53. However, a Varacallo four-point play with 2:34 left closed the lead to one.
Grove City committed just nine turnovers while W&J had only 11 turnovers. Grove City shot 41 percent (19 of 46) from the field while W&J shot 22 of 56 (39 percent). The Presidents went 11-for-28 from the field in each half and scored 32 points in each half. The Wolverines had been 8-0 when leading at halftime.
The Wolverines will now await a potential Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Southern Championship Tournament bid. The eight-team ECAC field will be announced late Monday afternoon.
GROVE CITY'S 1,000-POINT CLUB
1-Jeff Claypool (1965-69)
2-Bob Crow (1979-83) 1,450
3-Joe Buckley (1985-89) 1,413
4-John Cochran (1966-70) 1,352
5-Tanner Prosser (1999-2003) 1,263
6-Mark Timko (1991-94) 1,255
7-Fred Schwab (1970-74) 1,215
8-Deron Ryan (1984-88) 1,205
9-Tim Mokma (1987-91) 1,197
10-Bill Fox (1975-79) 1,192
11-Tom Robinson (1957-62) 1,181
12-Mark Smith (1979-83) 1,171
13-Jim Wherley (1993-97) 1,162
14-Bart Niemeyer (1958-62) 1,145
15-SHAWN CARR (2004-present) 1,104
16-Benjamin Davis (1990-94) 1,094
17-Dave Marovich (1962-65) 1,072
18-Ron Arrington (1962-66) 1,069
19-Ryan Eller (2001-05) 1,068
20-Mike Donahoe (1975-79) 1,051
21-Dan Von Handorf (1992-96) 1,029
22-Dutch Leonard (1955-59) 1,013
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