BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College men's basketball team rallied from a 12-point first half deficit to earn an 87-77 victory versus The United States Merchant Marine Academy in Landmark Conference action in Johnston Hall Monday evening.
The win was the third straight for the Greyhounds, who improve to 10-13 overall and 5-10 in Landmark Conference action under first-year Head Coach Justin Potts.
"The credit goes to the guys because they are putting in all the hard work," commented Potts. "They've done a good job staying the course and believing in the process. We talked about a week and a half ago about working on the process and not worrying about the results. The last three games they've stayed in the process and the results have taken care of themselves. I'm happy for them because of the way that they've competed."
Moravian had four players in double figures in the victory led by junior forward Brandon McGuire, who tossed in 22 points to go with eight rebounds. Freshman forward Oneil Holder added 21 points, eight boards and two assists.
"Those guys have been consistent for us all year," stated Potts. "I think that Brandon is a guy that as played well all season and Oneil has grown up as a young guy to be pretty consistent. They are dangerous because they can score around the basket but they can also step away from it and shoot the ball. Oneil can also put it on the floor a little bit. They are some tough mismatches as we go forward, and our guys are finding ways to get us some touches in those mismatches."
Sophomore guard Matt Cardonne tossed in 12 points while freshman guard Jake McGee added 10 points and four rebounds. Junior guard Sean Hanna netted eight points for the Hounds to go with four assists and three rebounds while junior guard Isaiah Jennings had five points, five assists and three rebounds. Freshman guard Jimmy Murray also had five points while freshman guard Will Brazukas dished out four assists.
The Mariners scored the first five points of the game and led 13-4 just over three minutes into action. Moravian pulled back within four points, 15-11, on a jumper from sophomore guard Jack Aussenheimer with 14:45 on the clock. USMMA pushed its lead into double digits and led by 12 points on three occasions, the final time at 33-21 with 4:54 until the intermission. The Greyhounds went on a 14-4 run to pull within two points, 37-35, on a three-pointer by Hanna at the 1:21 mark, and the Blue and Grey trailed 40-36 at halftime.
The Greyhounds opened the second half with a lay-up by McGuire and a three-pointer from the corner by Holder to take their first lead of the game at 41-40 with 18:47 to play. The Mariners answered with five points to retake a 45-41 lead before the Greyhounds scored eight straight to build a 49-45 lead on a lay-up by McGuire at the 14:33 mark.
USMMA pulled ahead by four points once again, 56-52, with 12:13 to play before the Greyhounds took the lead for good, 59-58, on an McGuire free throw with 9:21 remaining. The Hounds pulled ahead by 10 points, 72-62, on a lay-up from McGuire with 5:40 to play, and the lead reached 14 points, 78-64, on a fast break lay-up by Hanna at the 3:58 mark.
"We made a couple of adjustments in the press that I think helped us," noted Potts. "It was really up to our guys. I told them at one timeout that they were going to make the decision of how important this game was to them and what they were going to have to do to try and win it. It was minor adjustments in the press but it was more guys as they played a little better defensively and they shot better in the second half. It's also the things that people don't see. These guys have been in the gym a lot so we've shortened practice. I think they have figured out that when you put in the hours that eventually you're going to get some good things from it."
Moravian's pressing, up-temp style forced the Mariners into 17 turnovers in the game, and the Greyhounds scored 20 points off of those turnovers, and the Blue and Grey also had 27 points from its bench to only eight for USMMA.
The Greyhounds will close out the 2015-16 Landmark Conference season on Saturday, February 20 when the squad hosts Juniata College at 2:00 p.m. in Johnston Hall for Senior Day.