BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College men's basketball team earned an 81-76 win over Elizabethtown College in Landmark Conference action in Johnston Hall Saturday afternoon as the Greyhounds hosted their annual Alumni game earlier in the day.
The Hounds, now 6-7 overall and 2-4 in Landmark Conference action, shot 18-of-31 from the floor (58.1 percent) in the second half to help the team pull away after the squads were tied at 35-35 through 20 minutes of action. Moravian's up-tempo, pressing style of play under first-year Head Coach Justin Potts also saw the Blue and Grey force the Blue Jays into 17 turnovers.
"I thought we did some good things today, and we were tough both mentally and physically," commented Potts. "We stayed with things even when the ball didn't bounce our way. We got the style and pace of the game where we wanted to and found a way to get a win."
Freshman forward Oneil Holder led a trio of Hounds in double figures with 18 points to go with six rebounds and two blocked shots. Junior forward Brandon McGuire had his third double-double of the season and the 12th of his career with 17 points and a game-high 14 rebounds to go with three blocked shots and a pair of assists. Junior guard Sean Hanna added 11 points and four assists while freshman guard Jake McGee had nine points and three boards.
"The last couple of days coming out of the break we've tried to put an emphasis on touches in the paint whether that is off of the dribble or in the low post with Oneil and Brandon, and I thought in the second half that we did a very good job of getting those guys some touches," noted Potts. "That helps condense the defense and allows us to step into some open threes. Also, when you do score inside, it softens some things up and you get some driving lanes after that. Sean gave us a great spark too, and did some good things."
Freshman guard Jimmy Murray contributed eight points for the Hounds while junior guard Isaiah Jennings added six points, four rebounds and two assists. Freshman guard Will Brazukas had a career-best six points to go with four assists while sophomore guard Matt Cardonne tossed in six points on a pair of three-pointers.
Hanna would snag the opening tip-off and race in for a lay-up to put Moravian in the lead and start a 9-0 as Murray finished the run with a jumper at 17:52. However, the Blue Jays scored nine of the next 11 points to cut the Blue and Grey's lead to two points. Cardonne pushed the lead back to seven points, 24-17, with a three-pointer at the 11:51 mark but once again an Elizabethtown run would cut the advantage and tie the contest at 24-24. The Blue Jays took a 31-30 lead with 3:42 until the intermission, and the game was tied at 35-35 after 20 minutes.
Holder opened the scoring in the second half with the Hounds eventually taking a 44-38 lead on a three-pointer from Hanna three and a half minutes into the half. Elizabethtown tied the contest for the third time at 49-49 with 13:41 remaining but a layup by McGee on Moravian's next trip down the floor put the Greyhounds in front for good. McGuire pushed the lead to double digits for the first time, 69-59, with a lay-up at the 5:57 mark, and the Hounds would have two other 10-point advantages in the game.
"It was great to get a win today. I appreciate all of the guys coming back. Obviously, coach Jim Walker built a program here where guys have a good feeling about returning to campus and being a part of things," said Potts, a 2000 Moravian graduate, about his Alumni turnout. "The amount of guys that came back is great and to get a win with those guys in the building as I told our guys in the locker room after the game, we play for the guys that came before us. Those guys were great and gave us some energy in the building today. I'm happy they came back and we got the win."
Moravian will return to action on Wednesday, January 13 in a Landmark Conference game at Goucher College with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m. in Towson, Maryland.