(Swarthmore, Pa.) – The Dickinson men's basketball team traveled to Swarthmore to face Franklin & Marshall in the semifinals of the Centennial Conference Championships. The #2-seed Diplomats swept the regular season, but the #3-Red Devils would rally and advance to the final with a 70-64 victory on Friday night.
The Diplomats jumped out to a 6-0 lead and led 9-4, starting off the game with a trio of three-pointers. The Red Devils trailed, 11-8, when F&M went on a 10-0 run to lead 21-8 at the 9:11 mark. Sophomore Mike Hinckley (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Episcopal Academy) stopped the run with a three-pointer and buried another to make the score, 25-18.
Hinckley scored again and dished an assist to Justus Melton (Charlotte, N.C./Covenant Day) for a dunk to cut the margin to three. Hinckley continued to lead the way as the Devils went into the break, down just 32-28.
Hinckley made a steal and fed Elijah Wright (Orange, N.J./The Pennington School) for a lay-up to cut the deficit to 43-36, early in the second half.
Romocki cut the lead to three, converting a three-point play with 9:31 on the clock. Jule Brown (Ardmore, Pa./Lower Merion) knocked down a three-pointer to tie the game, and a pair of steals quickly put the Red Devils up, 51-47, as they went on a 15-0 run, forcing a timeout with 8:02 remaining in the game.
Jared Wright hit a three-pointer to pull the Diplomats within one before Michael Jurzynski (Pearl River, N.Y./The Master's School) scored and Hinckley sank another three-pointer to put Dickinson up, 56-51, after another Wright free throw.
Two more free throws cut the lead to just three before Melton and Sam Lorenzo (Sterling, Va./St. Anne's Belfield) finished inside to stretch the margin to 60-53.
Brandon Federici led the Diplomats back, tying the game with just 2:15 remaining in regulation. Melton countered and first-year Bryce Allen (Albany, N.Y./The Hill School) sank two free throws for a 64-60 lead.
Melton found a seam and drove to the basket to put Dickinson up by six and the defense held one more time. Romocki added free throw for a seven-point advantage, with just 18 seconds to play.
Matthew Tate cut the lead to five with a pair of free throws, but with just 11 seconds on the clock. Hinckley traded free throws with Jared Wright and Melton tacked on two more for the final score of 70-64, leading the Red Devils to the championship game on Saturday night.
Hinckley finished with a game-high 20 points behind a remarkable night shooting. He went 6-for-7 from the field, including a 4-of-5 performance from beyond the arc. He went 4-for-4 from the line, adding three steals and a pair of assists.
Melton scored 19 points and controlled five rebounds while Wright reached double-figures with 11 points and eight rebounds. Romocki tallied nine points and seven rebounds, dishing out five assists on the night. Brown had a solid line with five points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Federici and Tate each finished with 15 points to lead Franklin & Marshall as they fall to 18-8 on the season.
The Red Devils (16-10) advance to the conference championship game on Saturday at 7:00 pm. They will face the winner of the second semifinal, featuring #5-seed Ursinus College and host #1-seed Swarthmore.