February 26, 2014

Grove City falls at buzzer to Thomas More

CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. --  Junior guard J.T. Schwartz (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler) tied the game with six seconds remaining but Thomas More's D'Carlo Hayes answered with a layup at the buzzer as the Grove City College men's basketball team fell to the Saints 70-68 in the Presidents' Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday night in the Connor Convocation Center.

Junior guard Mitch Marmelstein (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./St. Margaret's) led the Wolverines with a game-high 22 points and seven rebounds while junior forward Brian Giesler (Harrisville, Pa./Slippery Rock) added 14 points.

Grove City (10-15) jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead on a the Saints (14-11) behind a Giesler three and a layup by sophomore guard Stephen Tam (Hamilton, Mass./Hamilton-Wenham), but Thomas More surged back with an 11-0 run to lead 12-5 with 13:48 remaining.

Marmelstein would score six consecutive points on layups to bring the Wolverines back within one at 12-11 and the Wolverines tied the score at 16, 18 and 20 before briefly retaking the lead at 22-20 on a jumper by junior guard Josh Patterson (McDonald, Pa./South Fayette) with 6:27 left in the half.

Junior guard Christian Durbin (Harmony, Pa./Seneca Valley) answered a Hayes three-pointer with a three-point play to put Grove City back on top, but Drew Mumford would connect on four free throws and a layup to give the Saints a 29-25 advantage with just over two minutes remaining.

A Marmelstein three would bring the Wolverines back within one, and, following a pair of Brandon Housley free throws, Giesler nailed his third three of the half to send Grove City into halftime tied with Thomas More at 31-31.

Marmelstein and Giesler each had nine points to lead the Wolverines at the break while Mumford led all scorers with 11.

The lead would switch hands four times over the first four-and-a-half minutes of the second half, with the Wolverines holding a 40-38 edge following a free throw by sophomore Joe Vermilya (Toledo, Ohio/Sylvania-Southview) with 15:32 remaining.

A 12-2 Thomas More run would give the Saints a 50-42 lead with 11:48 to play, but a Tam layup and Marmelstein three would close the gap back to three with 10:33 to play.

The Saints would use another run to take their largest lead of the game at 61-50 with 7:57 to play, but the Wolverines would respond once again, scoring 14 unanswered points and taking a 64-61 lead on a Patterson three with 3:48 left on the clock.

Marmelstein would answer a pair of Mumford free throws with a jumper to keep the Grove City advantage at three points, and the Wolverines would have two chances to make it a two-possession game, but the Saints' Spencer Berlekamp would knock down a three to tie the score at 66-66 with 1:32 remaining.

After Grove City turned the ball over on its ensuing possession, Housley gave Thomas More a 68-66 lead on a tip-in putback with 23 seconds left. Schwartz knifed his way to the hoop to even the score at 68-68 with just six seconds remaining but Hayes had the answer at the buzzer to lift the Saints to the Thursday's semifinals.

The Wolverines shot a blistering 57 percent (26-46) from the field and held a 26-20 rebounding advantage, but a 20-6 Thomas More edge in free throws made proved to be the difference.

Grove City will travel to Steubenville on Friday evening for a 6:00 non-conference game to close the 2013-14 season.

Box Score

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