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Inside-out effort leads JHU past Shoremen

By: Ryan Callinan

Michael Gardner scored a career-high 20 points against Washington College.

Sophomore guard Michael Gardner doubled his season scoring average with 20 points as the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays men’s basketball team earned a wire-to-wire victory over Washington College on Wednesday night at Goldfarb Gymnasium. The 84-65 victory completed the Blue Jays’ season-sweep of the Shoremen and improved their overall record to 16-8 and Centennial Conference record to 12-5, putting them into second place in the league.

Hopkins jumped out to an early lead, taking full advantage of their noticeable edge in size down low. Ryan Curran set the tone early, powering his way to the bucket on the game’s first possession and two scored two of his 13 points.

JHU continued looking to exploit the advantage they had with his size on the very next possession. Washington adjusted with a quick double-team, but Curran found a wide open Kyle Doran at the top of the key. He drained his outside shot and that was the theme that would play out for most of the night. Washington’s only defense to their size disadvantage in the post was to send a double-team crashing in, but Hopkins as routinely able to find the open man.

“If you’re scoring down there (in the low post) they have to do something. They can’t just play us one-on-one. … It’s tough, they don’t have the size to compete inside,” Johns Hopkins coach Bill Nelson said.

The Shoremen’s Austin Allen prevented JHU from running away early by scoring his team’s first six points on contested jumper. But the relief was short-lived. Hopkins quickly opened up a 12-point lead just eight minutes into the first half behind a smooth mid-range game by Gardner.

“The mid-range has always been my bread and butter,” Gardner said. “It’s all about confidence for me.”

Gardner also said he has “been working really hard” to improve his 3-point shot this season and his hard work ostensibly paid off as he went 2-for-3 from distance in his 8-for-10 overall shooting performance. As he was getting open look after open look, his shots were often times pure, never even touching the rim and only swishing the net.

“He’s really becoming quite a player,” Nelson said. “He’s the first here and last to leave kind-of-guy.”

Despite a dominate performance midway through the first half, the Jays couldn’t seem to put the visitors away. A five-minute JHU scoring drought let the Shoremen back in the game with three minutes remaining in the first half.

However, Hopkins was able to overcome their eight first-half turnovers and restored their 12-point advantage before halftime as five points from Gardner and four from forward Sam Gordon sparked an 11-4 run to close the first half.

Hopkins carried that momentum into the second half and blew the game wide open with a 19-2 run in the first five minutes. With a 29-point lead for the home team, the game was all but over. Washington made a late flurry that cut the deficit to 15 points with just over a minute remaining, but that was as close as the visitors would get after Hopkins opened the floodgates to start the second stanza.

The Blue Jays will end their regular season this Saturday when they host Haverford at 4 pm. The team’s six seniors will be honored prior to the game as part of their Senior Day ceremony.

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Ryan Callinan

Staff Writer
Ryan Callinan was born with a passion for sports. He grew up playing soccer, basketball, and baseball; all sports he enjoyed, but it was soccer that he excelled at the most. HIs talent in soccer earned him a scholarship to Calvert Hall College High School, where he made varsity all four years and won two MIAA Championship. Then he earned a scholarship to play at UMBC for coach Peter Caringi. Two unfortunate knee injuries cut his soccer career short, but that’s when he found a love for writing. He ended up transferring to Towson University, graduated with a degree in English and worked his way to becoming a sports writer. After joining So Much Sports he was inspired to further pursue his graduate degree in journalism at Towson University. So while maybe his dream of becoming a pro soccer player won’t be realized, his might still be able to cover pro soccer teams. The sport it still his true love.

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