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Moravian Runs Past Muhlenberg in 2017-18 Season Opener in Packed Johnston Hall

Oneil Holder '19 drives to the hoop in the second half of the 2017-18 season opener versus Muhlenberg College.
Oneil Holder '19 drives to the hoop in the second half of the 2017-18 season opener versus Muhlenberg College.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College men's basketball shrugged off a slow start to post a 95-74 victory over rival Muhlenberg College in non-conference action before a packed house in Johnston Hall Wednesday evening to begin the 2017 season.

"I thought we did a good job," commented third-year Head Coach Justin Potts, who won his first season opener leading the Hounds' program. "I think our depth showed for sure since we used 13 guys in the first half and no one played more than 26 minutes tonight. I thought that depth helped us. Coach Hopkins has done a good job with the team at Muhlenberg but our press was the difference. We were able to turn them over, generate more shots and keep the game at the pace we want it. Wins are hard to come by so it is nice to get off to a 1-0 start and now we just have to keep working on some things so we continue to get better."

The Greyhounds had three players in double figures with junior guard Jimmy Murray tossing in a game-high 21 points to go with three rebounds and three assists. Sophomore guard C.J. Barnes added 17 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals while junior forward Oneil Holder contributed 14 points and a game-high eight boards.

Junior guard Will Brazukas and sophomore guard Elijah Davis both had seven points for the Greyhounds with Brazukas dishing our five assists and Davis pulling down six rebounds. Senior guard Matt Cardonne and junior guard Nicholas Casazza both had six points on a pair of three pointers with Casazza adding four rebounds and Cardonne grabbing three boards. Sophomore guard Mike Martino and sophomore forward Addis Ralph each scored five points while senior forward Khalil Rhett added four points and five rebounds. Sophomore guard Tyron Brown contributed three rebounds, two points and a pair of assists for the Hounds.

Moravian's pressing style of defense forced the Mules into 20 turnovers while the Blue and Grey had just 12 turnovers to go with 18 assists. The Greyhounds finished with a 47-40 advantage on the boards, and the squad shot 42.7 percent (32-of-75) from the field. Moravian attempted 42 three-pointers on the evening, making 14, and the Hounds were 16-of-24 at the foul line.

Muhlenberg connected on a trio of three-pointers in the first minute of action and led 11-3 just over two minutes into play. Moravian's offense finally began to click and the Hounds rolled off 11 straight points to take a 14-11 lead on a lay-up by Ralph with 12:30 left in the first half. The Mules came back to knot the score at 14-14 but a free throw by Barnes with 11:23 on the clock put the Greyhounds in the lead for the rest of the game. The Blue and Grey scored 14 points in the final four minutes of the half to head to the locker room with a 45-30 advantage.

Moravian's lead would not fall below 11 points during the second half, and it reached 23 points, 81-58, on a three-pointer by Davis with 5:48 remaining.

The Greyhounds are scheduled to begin a five-game road trip beginning on Friday, November 17 when the squad takes on Hunter (N.Y.) College in the opening round of the Gettysburg College Tournament at 8:00 p.m.