Grant, Coleman key MU men
By Gordie Jones, Correspondent
Millersville senior guard Larry Grant, the team's leading scorer, hasn't been starting lately. He has been finishing, and rather well at that.
His accomplice often has been junior guard Anthony Coleman.
"The last three or four games," Grant said, "we tell each other, 'It's go time.' "
Saturday afternoon's game against Mansfield was stop-and-go time for the team as a whole. Lots of ups and downs, peaks and valleys. But Grant and Coleman found the ignition switch late in the second half, each scoring nine points in a pivotal 20-6 burst to key a 75-68 MU victory.
Coleman finished with 19, while Kemar Williams had 12 and Grant 11 for MU (11-4 Pennsylvania Conference East, 15-6 overall), which won its third straight. That result, combined with East Stroudsburg's 87-77 victory over West Chester (11-4, 13-6), leaves the Marauders tied for second place in the division. The Warriors (14-1, 17-2) are alone in first.
MU has a home game against the Rams next Saturday, and one against the Warriors on Feb. 20. As for Saturday, the Mounties mounted a worthy challenge, despite their record (3-12, 5-14) and short bench; because of injuries and the academic ineligibility of Chuck Harper, the team's second-leading scorer, they dressed just three reserves.
Then top scorer Joe Bell was limited to nine first-half minutes because of foul trouble. Mansfield nonetheless assumed a 35-25 lead at the break. And just when it looked like the Marauders were about to take control in the second half, Mansfield reeled off nine straight points, including four of Bell's 19, to tie it at 51-all with 8:19 left.
Enter the firm of Grant and Coleman.
"We needed something to get us going," Coleman said.
He coaxed in a tough 10-foot banker to put MU ahead to stay. Then Grant nailed a 3-pointer, the Marauders' first of the game. The only other one they had, in 14 attempts, was by Coleman with 2:21 to play. That, combined moments later with his fast-break conversion, made it 71-57. And that about did it.
"We always look for each other," Grant said of Coleman. "We're jelling right now."
It was the fifth straight game in which Grant, who averages 14.3 points, has come off the bench; he said he "messed up" in the Cheyney game Jan. 16, leading to his demotion.
"I'm getting used to it," he said.
Not too much, though.
"I'll be back in the starting lineup soon," he added.
Coleman, meanwhile, has been on a serious uptick. After averaging 8.3 points over the first 11 games of the season, he has scored at a 15.4 clip over the last nine, leaving his overall norm at 11.5.
"He's starting to play now," coach Fred Thompson said. "He's starting to play to his potential."
"Last year," Mansfield coach Rich Miller said, "he was more of a role player. Now he's certainly a threat for them."
As a result, the team appears to be, too.n