Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
F&M's fast learners
Young Diplomats assert themselves in victory F&M's fast learners BY ED GRUVER, Sports Staff
The future of Franklin & Marshall men's basketball came into full view Thursday night.
Freshmen Cedric Moune and Gordon Rogo set career highs in numerous categories, most notably in points, and fellow frosh Shawn Hines of Manheim Township scored his first career points in a 76-58 Centennial Conference victory over Ursinus at Mayser Center.
"It was a good win," said Moune, a product of Cameroon who produced career highs in points (8), free throws made (6) and blocks (2), and was one rebound shy of tying his best (9).
"We had to win this game to get a winning streak started."
The victory extended F&M's winning streak over Ursinus to 10 dating back to 2008. It also snapped the Diplomats' two-game slide and kept F&M (10-3 CC, 15-5 overall) in a tie for first with Dickinson. The rivals won Thursday by nearly identical scores, the Red Devils defeating McDaniel 75-58.
Matt Porter paced F&M with a game-high 18 points and Jon Salandra contributed a season-high 15 points and a game-best 12 boards.
Rogo added a career-high 10 points, and provided the highlight of the night with an old-school, "Pistol" Pete Maravich-like fake feed and layup.
The stunning move boosted F&M's lead to a game-high 23 at 72-49 and brought the crowd to its feet for a standing ovation. It also resulted in an Ursinus timeout and the equally old-school blaring of Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle," a staple at Mayser since the Will Lasky-Chris Finch-Mark Maggioncalda teams of the early 1990s.
One aspect of F&M's game that wasn't retro was its 3-point shooting. The Diplomats fired up 22 threes -- some 10 above their season average -- and connected on eight.
Rogo, Porter and Brandon Beckford drilled two apiece, and when the latter connected from the top of the arc three minutes into the second half to raise F&M's advantage to 44-23, even Diplomat head coach Glenn Robinson was moved to stand up, smile and raise both arms to replicate the referees' signal for a made 3-pointer.
'They were packing it in (down low)," Robinson said of the Bear defense. "They almost forced you to (shoot threes)."
Said Moune, "The game plan was to get the ball under the basket. When we brought the ball under (the basket), they collapsed and we kicked it out(side).
"Tonight, (the 3-point shot) was going in so we kept doing it."
F&M had more three attempts in the first half (13) than it averaged per game going in. The Diplomats were good on four of those and led 35-23 at the break.
The game's competitive phase all but ended three minutes into the second half. Max Brewer's steal and dish to Salandra led to a layup by Porter, and Hayk Gyokchyan followed with a 3-ball.
When Beckford netted his aforementioned trey and Gyokchyan hit one of two free throws, the Diplomats' 9-0 run made it 44-23.
"I think our big guys match up well with their big guys," Robinson said, explaining one reason for F&M's dominance of Ursinus (5-8, 7-13) in recent seasons.
Whether or not said dominance continues in the near future will depend on Moune, Rogo, Hines, Morgan Lee, et al.
For now, they're trying to help hold together a squad that's been slowed by injuries and has lost forward Ed Early to an ankle sprain suffered in practice.
"He's out for the next two weeks, at least," Robinson said of Early, who is on crutches.
"We have to step up," Moune said of F&M's reserves. "Coach (Robinson) always tells us to stay ready."
Thursday night, they were. And in the process, showed that their future is now.