By Joseph Kimmel, contributing writer

Looking to secure a playoff berth in front of a sizable home crowd, the Diplomats took care of business, defeating the Gettysburg Bullets, 63-51.

The Bullets jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the first four minutes of the game, but the Diplomats responded through the strong and consistent play of Jon Salandra ’14 and Matt Porter ’14. After a back and forth first half, the Dips went into the locker room leading 27-23.

The Diplomats started the second half on a 10-4 run to push their lead to 37-27. After trading a few baskets, the Diplomats made another run behind the sharpshooting of guard Devin Figueroa ’16, who scored eight straight points for the Dips, increasing their lead to 46-31. The Bullets responded with a three-point shot on their next possession, but then Diplomats guard Terrel Phelps ’15 stifled the comeback by converting a four-point play after he was fouled on his three-point shot from the top of the key.

Glenn Robinson, head coach of the men’s basketball team, had high praise for senior leaders Salandra and Porter.

“Jon and Matt are a huge part of everything we do,” Robinson said. “They usually draw the best opposing players to defend and are called on to score when we are on offense. Setting an example by giving consistent and all-out effort really is the most important thing they can do for the team. Both play to exhaustion.”

Robinson puts a large emphasis on leadership.

“Leadership is the most important ingredient in making a team better,” he said.

As the team heads to the playoffs, this leadership, especially from Salandra and Porter, will be important to the team’s success.

“We did not adjust any strategy, we just executed better and confirmed we just executed better and confirmed how to guard each matchup,” Robinson said about the Diplomats’ strong run at the start of the second half.

The win pushed the Dips to 16-8 overall and 12-5 in the Centennial Conference.

The team played at Dickinson College this past Saturday in its regular season finale, winning 72-57, and the Dips’ next game is the first round of the Centennial Conference playoffs, with their opponent to be determined.

First-year Joseph Kimmel is a contributing writer. His email is jkimmel@fandm.edu.