LANCASTER, Pa. - The best offense is a good defense. This was the case tonight for the Franklin & Marshall men's basketball team. The Diplomats shot 58.3 percent from the floor and clamped down on defense, holding Wesley 18 points under its season average. The Diplomats also held a 53-31 advantage in rebounds. The net result was F&M cruising to a 93-69 victory in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
James McNally and Danny Selig each recorded a double-double on the night. McNally tallied a game-high 18 points and Selig came off the bench for 12, while they both pulled down 11 boards to help the Diplomats (23-5) set a program playoff record for most rebounds in an NCAA game with 53.
"What I was pleased with was that we didn't have player just one player rebound, but the whole team rebounded," said head coach Glenn Robinson.
The defensive effort was spearheaded by Anthony Brooks, who held the Wolverines' (18-10) Rashawn Johnson to just 14 points. Johnson came into the game averaging 24.3 points. Brooks managed to go 8-for-12 from the floor for 17 points while keeping Johnson scoreless in the second half.
"In the first half he was hitting shots in my face," said Brooks. "In the second half I took it upon myself to shut him down, and my teammates gave me plenty of help to get it done."
Midway through the first half with the score at 25-23 in favor of the hosts, F&M went 5-for-6 from the floor to score 10 unanswered points and take a 12-point lead at 35-23. From there, the Diplomats pushed the lead to 44-28 on four points from Selig and Clay Scovill. F&M scored 32 of the 52 first-half points in the paint, including 10 on turnovers.
F&M took a 16-point advantage into the second half, which looked a lot like the first. Scovill and Mike Baker opened the scoring with back-to-back layups, before Steve Tolliver drained a three-pointer to give the Diplomats a 68-46 edge. From there, the Diplomats went on a 16-0 run to extend the lead by more than 30 points at 84-49.
Georgio Milligan was one of six players in double figures with 11 points. He also added seven assists, three steals and two blocks. Scovill and Baker finished with 12 apiece.
McNally's double-double was his sixth of the season while Selig got his second.
F&M faces Brandeis tomorrow in the second round at 7 p.m. The Judges posted a 74-60 win over Scranton in the first game of the night.