January 4, 2012

Wolverines rally past Westminster, 69-66

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. -- The Grove City College men's basketball team rallied for a 69-66 victory at archrival Westminster Wednesday night in Presidents' Athletic Conference action at Memorial Field House.

Grove City trailed 62-55 with four minutes remaining before mounting its gallant comeback. Senior center Kris Verderber (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Kenston) ignited the game-ending 14-4 run with a three-point play. After Westminster's Max Spinner split a pair of free throws, junior forward Nate Rambacher (Newmanstown, Pa./Eastern Lebanon) and freshman guard Mitch Marmelstein (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./St. Margaret's) drilled consecutive jumpers to cut the lead to 63-62.

Spinner hit a long three-pointer with two minutes left, giving the Titans a four-point lead. However, Grove City would outscore Westminster 7-0 over the remainder of the game. Freshman guard J.T. Schwartz (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler) buried a three-pointer on Grove City's next possession, pulling Grove City to within 66-65.

The Wolverines then took the lead for good with 36.6 seconds left when senior guard Brett Matson (Wexford, Pa./Pine-Richland) intercepted a pass at midcourt and raced in for the go-ahead layup. After a Westminster turnover, Marmelstein hit two free throws with 0.9 seconds left to seal the victory.

Matson led Grove City with 20 points while Verderber poured in 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Marmelstein added 14 points for Grove City, which trailed by as many as 10, 26-16, in the first half.

Grove City shot just 9 for 35 (26 percent) from the field in the first half but converted 17 of 25 (68 percent) in the second half. For the game, the Wolverines shot 43 percent (26 of 60). The Wolverines went 5 for 7 on three-point attempts in the second half.

Doug Smith led Westminster with 24 points and Anthony Thomas added 18. Adam Carswell chipped in eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Westminster shot 22 of 50 (44 percent) from the floor and owned a 36-30 advantage in rebounds. Westminster led 28-23 at halftime.

Matson and Verderber each led Grove City with six rebounds. Matson also had five steals and three assists. Freshman guard Josh Patterson (McDonald, Pa./South Fayette) also had three assists in his first career start. Schwartz had three thefts, along with his eight points.

Grove City (6-6, 2-3 PAC) forced 17 turnovers, which led to 23 points. The Wolverines had only 10 turnovers, including just three in the second half.

Grove City will visit Penn State Beaver Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in non-conference action.

Box Score

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