BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College men's basketball team saw a first half lead slip away, and the Greyhounds nearly rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half before falling to Drew University, 80-73, in a hard-fought Landmark Conference contest in Johnston Hall Thursday evening.
"I thought we played extremely hard," commented Head Coach Justin Potts. "I thought we played hard enough to win but we just didn't play well enough to win in certain situations. I tell the guys all time that in college basketball that you play 35 minutes to get to the final five minutes. We were in the game in the final five minutes but didn't make some shots here and there, and we didn't get some stops and rebounds. Drew's a good team, and they executed in the last couple of minutes while we didn't."
Junior forward Brandon McGuire paced Moravian with a game-high 24 points to lead all scorers, and McGuire added four rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Freshman guard Jimmy Murray tossed in 19 points with three boards and a pair of assists while junior guard Sean Hanna contributed 16 points, five rebounds and three assists.
"I thought those three guys played great," noted Potts. "We've been talking to Brandon about being a little more aggressive, and he was tonight. His aggressiveness gave us a chance to get Jimmy and Sean some space on the perimeter to be able to make some plays."
Sophomore guard Matt Cardonne contributed eight points and two rebounds for the Greyhounds while senior forward Bobby Zimmermann grabbed a career-high five rebounds to go with two points. Freshman guard Will Brazukas had three rebounds, two points and a pair of assists while junior guard Isaiah Jennings had four rebounds, three assists and two points for Moravian.
"Bobby did an unbelievable job coming off the bench and playing some big minutes," Potts said. "As I told the guys in the locker room, we've got the right recipe but we just have to tinker with the ingredients a little bit and we'll get a chance to be successful in the short term if we continue to do the things we did tonight."
The Blue and Grey fell behind early but fought back to take a 14-13 lead on a three-point play by McGuire with 12:07 still to play in the first half. After falling behind again, Moravian took a 24-22 lead with 8:09 on the clock on a three-pointer by Cardonne and a jumper from Brazukas. Down 29-24, the Hounds went on a 14-2 run to build a 38-31 lead with 2:13 to go in the opening half; however, the Rangers scored the final seven points to send the teams to the locker room tied at 38-38 after 20 minutes of action.
Drew took an early lead in the second half and pushed it into double figures. The Rangers led by as many as 15 points twice, the final time at 72-57 with just 7:03 remaining. The Greyhounds then put together a 14-2 spurt with eight points from Murray, two from Zimmermann and four from McGuire, who cut the deficit to three points, 74-71, on a lay-up with just 2:22 remaining. The Rangers would sink six free throws to end the game while Moravian was unable to get a basket until Hanna scored with four seconds on the clock.
The Greyhounds forced Drew into 15 turnovers in the game and also kept the Rangers to 11 assists on 28 field goal attempts while pressing for the entire game.
Moravian is scheduled to return to action on Saturday, January 9 when the Hounds host Elizabethtown College in a Landmark Conference game in Johnston Hall with tip-off slated for 2:00 p.m. Moravian is also hosting its annual alumni game at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.