BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Moravian College continues its look back at its 2014-15 athletic campaign with the No. 5 highlight in the Top 10 Exciting Games – the men's basketball team's last second, 61-60, win over Elizabethtown College for the final win of Head Coach Jim Walker's career on February 14.
The victory would give Walker, who announced his retirement after the season, his 442nd career victory as he would finish his 35 seasons on the Moravian sidelines with a 442-440 mark. Senior guard Izel Dickerson would drop in the winning shot with five seconds to play, and he had 18 points in the game to put him five away from becoming the 20th player in school history to reach 1,000 points, which he would do in the next game on Senior Day for the Greyhounds.
"This was the most exciting game of the season for several reasons," commented Walker. "The score was close throughout the game; there were 10 lead changes; Elizabethtown came from seven points down at the end of the game to take a 59-58 lead; we showed great mental toughness by coming back after two consecutive turnovers on offense and then keeping them from getting the ball in bounds on four consecutive opportunities. Also, Izel after turning the ball over on his previous drive hits the driving layup to win the game."
Junior guard Jarrod Dilts opened the game with a three-pointer for the Greyhounds but the Blue Jays scored nine of the next 11 points to build a 9-5 lead just 2:21 into action. Elizabethtown pushed that lead to seven points, 15-8 with 12:49 to play before a three-pointer by Dickerson, a three-pointer by sophomore guard Sean Hanna and a layup from freshman guard Jack Aussenheimer put the Hounds back ahead 16-15 with 10:31 before the intermission.
The Blue Jays pulled back in front but once again the Greyhounds used a three-pointer, this one by sophomore guard Isaiah Jennings to knot the score at 19-19. After Elizabethtown moved ahead, it would be sophomore forward Brandon McGuire, who finished the game with a double-double of 13 points and 16 rebounds, giving the Blue & Grey the lead again, 26-24, with back-to-back layups. The score was tied again at 29-29 with 2:36 before halftime, and Etown scored the next four points. However, Dickerson sent the Greyhounds to the locker room down by just two points with a buzzer beating lay-up to end the first 20 minutes of action.
Dickerson didn't waste any time putting Moravian ahead in the second half as he connected on a three-pointer on the first shot of the half for a 34-33 lead. After trading the lead for the next five minutes, Hanna and Dickerson connected on back-to-back three-pointers to break a 42-42 tie and give the Blue & Grey a 48-42 advantage with just under 13 minutes remaining on the clock.
The Greyhounds would hold onto the lead for the next 11 minutes, pushing it to a seven-point advantage, 57-50, after a pair of Dickerson free throws with 5:36 left. However, Elizabethtown scored 10 of the next 12 points as the Blue Jays moved back ahead, 60-59, with 1:39 remaining.
Elizabethtown would get just one shot during the remainder of the game as the Greyhounds forced three turnovers. One of those turnovers was a steal by freshman guard/forward Riley Hengler with nine seconds left. The ball would end up in Dickerson's hands as he drove to the basket, sinking the winning lay-up with five ticks left on the Johnston Hall clock. Hanna would come up with a steal on the inbounds pass as the Greyhounds sealed the victory.
"That was an exciting game, but that shot came off of a mistake," explained Dickerson. "It was close game the whole game so we as a team figured it could possibly come down to a last second shot. All I can remember thinking was I need to make up for my mistake, because I had just turned the ball over a few seconds before. So I was determined not to let that ball get into the hands of my guy because that's who they were looking for. I stayed glued to him and they threw the ball away and my teammate came up with the steal and got me the ball. From their my instincts took over to get to the rim and I was able to finish, I had the clock in the back of my mind knowing it was winding down, so I know we needed to get the best look as fast as possible.
"For it being Coach Walker's last career win is something special," continued Dickerson. "I know it was not a great season for us as a team but you always remember games like that and for it to be his last career win as the head coach, I believe it is one that he and I will remember forever. Especially with how close our relationship was, and him being my head coach all four years really allowed us to develop a great relationship. I am happy I will be apart of his memory for not only the last four years but his last win. Congratulations Coach Walker, it has been a good four years. Thanks for everything."
You can check out the original game day story at http://moraviansports.com/sports/mbkb/2014-15/releases/20150214hxkpsl.
Number four on our Top 10 Exciting Games will be announced on Monday, July 13.