WESTMINSTER, Md. – The game featured 14 ties and 15 lead changes. It was the final of those 15 lead changes – a Nic Martin (Hagerstown, Md./St. Maria Goretti) driving layup with 41.7 seconds left that lifted McDaniel to its third straight victory, defeating Elizabethtown 70-68 in non-conference men's basketball action on Sunday.
Tyler Rudd (Glen Burnie, Md./Glen Burnie) and Andrew Merlo (Rehoboth, Del./Cape Henlopen) combined to lead the Green Terror (4-4) with 37 points. Rudd led all scorers with 19 points to go with three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Merlo registered a career-best 18 points to go with three rebounds, four assists and a steal.
Lee Eckert netted 17 points to pace the Blue Jays (2-7), who tallied 50 points in the paint.
Trailing 68-64 on a Joe Renzi layup with 2:11 to play, Merlo hit the front end of two free throws 15 seconds later to make it a one-possession game.
After forcing Elizabethtown into missed layup, Rudd was fouled at the end other end and converted a pair from the charity stripe to cut the deficit to 68-67 with 1:31 on the clock.
Evan Pupelia (Manhasset, N.Y./Manhasset) stepped in front of a Blue Jay pass after an offensive rebound to give McDaniel the ball back.
Out a timeout in the front court with 46.1 seconds left, Martin inbounded to Pupelis, who dished the ball back to Martin and set a screen that allowed Martin to turn the corner and drive the lane for the go-ahead layup.
Pupelis pulled down his 12th rebounds of the game at the other end before sinking the second of two free throws to set the final margin with 8.0 seconds left.
Keyed by a Joe Schwalm jumper and Ben Cable 3-pointer, the Blue Jays took a 5-0 lead 2:38 into the game.
A single Merlo free throw with 15:57 to play and three from Rudd 34 seconds later closed the gap to 5-4 before Jimmy Cranwell (Brick, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) hit the hosts' first bucket 5:30 into the game for a 6-5 lead.
A Rudd layup and four straight points from Pupelis turned a 14-13 deficit into a 19-14 lead with 8:17 for the Green Terror's largest advantage of the game.
Two Eckert layups and a Bodnar free throw knotted the game at 21-all with 6:24 to play in the opening half.
A Merlo 3-pointer put McDaniel on top 36-35 with 51 seconds remaining before Ekert hit a jumper and Andrew Mantz beat the first-half buzzer for a 39-36 lead at the break.
Merlo once again tied the game with a triple 53 seconds into the second half.
The Green Terror built a four-point lead before the Blue Jays clawed back to take a four-point edge of their own in the final three minutes of the game.
McDaniel returns to action at Trinity (Conn.) on Saturday, Dec. 29. Game time is 3 p.m.