Pupelis tallies 16 in key win
WESTMINSTER, Md. – McDaniel held the Centennial Conference's (CC) top scoring offense to 17 points in the second half, turning a 33-24 Muhlenberg halftime lead into a 57-50 men's basketball victory on Wednesday.
Malique Killing led the Mules (8-4, 3-2 CC) with 16 points.
Trailing by nine at halftime, Phillip Perry (Crownsville, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) canned a 3-pointer late in McDaniel's first possession of the second half before Wesley Brooks (North Wales, Pa./North Penn) added a jumper 2:03 into the half to trim the deficit to four.
Kevin Hargrove converted a three-point play at the other end before the Green Terror defense held a team averaging 80.4 points per game to just three over the game's next 7:17.
Meanwhile, Merlo drained a 3-pointer with 16:32 showing to start a 14-3 run.
Two Pupelis free throws and a Jimmy Cranwell (Brick, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven) layp knotted the game at 36-all with 13:19 on the clock.
Killing canned a triple at the other end to put the visitors back in front before Cameron Royster (Derwood, Md./Magruder) hit a driving layup to make it a one-point game.
With 11:02 to play, a whistle stopped play for a technical foul on a Muhlenberg player. Merlo stepped to the line and hit one of his two free-throw attempts to even the game.
Later in the possession, Merlo was fouled again to give McDaniel its first lead since 4-2.
Pupelis added a layup with 10:19 showing to stretch the advantage to four.
Four straight points from Brandon Bovino leveled the game at 43-all with 7:07 showing before Pupelis put his team back in front by two.
Austin Curry responded with a 3-pointer for a 46-45 lead before Merlo hit a running floater on the baseline for a 47-46 advantage.
Killing and Merlo traded baskets before Hargrove hit a layup with 1:39 for a 50-49 lead.
Treys from Perry and Cranwell, however, stretched the lead to five before Merlo sealed the victory with two free throws in the final four seconds.
Tied at 6-all, Alec Stavetski converted a layup with 14:42 on the first-half clock to start a 24-9 stretch that gave the Mules a 30-15 lead with 6:26 to play in the opening stanza.
Four straight points from Pupelis halted the momentum. Brooks drained a 3-pointer in the final 45 seconds of the first half to close the deficit to 32-24 before Nick Melosky hit the second of two free throws with 11.8 seconds left for the nine-point halftime lead.
Pupelis and Duane Echols (Jessup, Md./Hammond) led the way on the glass with six rebounds each.
The Green Terror returns to action at home against Haverford on Saturday. Game time is 3 p.m.