Lancaster Bible Crushes 19th-ranked Franklin & Marshall

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The Lancaster Bible men's basketball team matched the best start in program history on Saturday as Chargers improved to 3-0 by defeating 19th-ranked Franklin & Marshall, 94-66 to win the TownePlace Suites Tip-Off Tournament hosted by Messiah College. It was a day of firsts for the Chargers as not only did they become just the second team in program history to start a season 3-0, but Saturday marked the first time the Chargers have ever defeated Franklin & Marshall and it was also the first time Lancaster Bible has ever beaten a nationally ranked opponent. 

How it Happened: The Chargers jumped out to an early 10-4 lead thanks to 3-pointers from Kurt Keltner and Bryce Williams, followed by back-to-back layups from senior Dondre Perry. Franklin & Marshall eventually trimmed the deficit to 13-10 with 13:03 to play in the first half, but the Chargers quickly responded with a 10-1 run capped by a fastbreak layup from senior Jordan Mellinger that gave Lancaster Bible a 23-11 lead midway through the opening 20 minutes.

The hot-shooting Chargers continued to drain shots from both inside and outside as another 3-pointer from Williams extended Lancaster Bible's lead to 30-15 with just under eight minutes to play and two possessions later, sophomore Ty Constein hit another layup for the Chargers to make it a 17-point advantage. After a Herbie Brown layup with 1:29 remaining in the first half gave the Chargers a 46-29 lead, the Diplomats scored the half's final five points to cut their deficit to 12 at 46-34 heading into halftime.

Lancaster Bible quickly built its lead back to 16 early in the second half and though plenty of time remained on the clock, senior CJ Dunston delivered the knockout blow with just under 16 minutes to play in the game. On back-to-back possessions, Dunston stole a Franklin & Marshall pass at the top of the key and sprinted down the floor by himself and threw down consecutive thunderous dunks. The second brought the very pro-Lancaster Bible crowd to its feet and the Diplomats called timeout trailing 58-39 with 15:48 to play. 

A 3-pointer by Franklin & Marshall's Brandon Federici out of the timeout cut the Chargers' lead to 58-42, but Lancaster Bible put its collective foot on the gas one more time as the Chargers went on a 12-0 run capped by Mellinger's 3-pointer that gave Lancaster Bible a 70-42 lead with 12:49 to play. The Chargers would lead by as many as 33 points in the second half and finished the game with 16 fastbreak points, while the Diplomats had just six.

By the Numbers: Mellinger and Perry each finished with a game-high 17 points, while Bryce Williams had 16 points...Perry finished 8-of-11 from the floor, while Mellinger was 7-of-10, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc...Williams was 5-of-8, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range...Keltner had 11 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Dunston finished with nine points, five rebounds and a career-high six steals...The Chargers shot 35-of-62 (56.5 percent) for the game and had 38 points in the paint...Lancaster Bible had 17 steals en route to forcing 27 Franklin & Marshall turnovers.

The Coach Says: "What an unbelievable effort from the guys today," Lancaster Bible Head Coach Zach Filzen said. "The team did exactly what we asked of them on both ends of the floor and when we play like we did today, we are going to be tough to beat. This was by far our best defensive effort of the season. Franklin & Marshall is a really good team with a great post game and we were able to disrupt that a bit and once again our pace of play seemed to bother them and gave us good opportunities. This is a great win for the program and we are going to celebrate it, but I hope this isn't the highlight of the season. We have to get back to work on Monday and get ready for a good Eastern team on Tuesday. We are excited to play at home for the first time this season and ready to have the full force of the Red Sea Student Section behind us."

Information Hodge Podge: Lancaster Bible is now 1-2 all-time against Franklin & Marshall...The Diplomats defeated the Chargers 109-51 during the 2010-11 season and 57-40 during the 2011-12 campaign...Through three games, the Chargers are averaging 88.7 points a game and are giving up an average of just 70 points per game...The Diplomats had scored at least 79 points in each of their first three games before being held to 66 on Saturday...Jordan Mellinger was named to the All-Tournament team for the Chargers, while Kurt Keltner was named Tournament MVP.

Up Next: Lancaster Bible will host its first game of the season on Tuesday as the Chargers welcome Eastern to Horst Athletic Center for an 8 p.m. contest.