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Martino's Late 4-Point Play Caps 16-Point Rally as Greyhounds Top Elizabethtown, 69-68

Mike Martino '20 sets up the offense against Muhlenberg College.
Mike Martino '20 sets up the offense against Muhlenberg College.

ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. --- Sophomore guard Mike Martino tossed in a career-high 12 points but none more important than a four-point play with eight seconds remaining to help lead the Moravian College men's basketball team from a 16-point deficit with 14 minutes remaining to a 69-68 victory at Elizabethtown College in the 2017-18 Landmark Conference opener for both schools.

The Greyhounds won their second straight game to improve to 5-1 on the season, and the Blue and Grey start the Landmark Conference season at 1-0 with no more conference contests until January.

Junior guard Jimmy Murray led the Hounds with 17 points while Martino had nine of his 12 points in the second half to go along with three rebounds and three assists. Junior forward Oneil Holder was also in double figures with 11 points, and he grabbed a team-high nine rebounds to go with a pair of assists.

Sophomore guard C.J. Barnes contributed eight points and seven boards while junior guard Nicholas Casazza tossed in seven points and dished out a pair of assists. Freshman guard Matt O'Connor and sophomore guard Elijah Davis each scored five points with Davis adding a pair of rebounds while senior forwards Khalil Rhett and Aaron Brown each had two points and three boards for the Greyhounds. Junior guard Will Brazukas added two rebounds and a pair of assists while senior guard Matt Cardonne added three boards.

Moravian connected on 25-of-58 shots from the floor (43.1 percent), and the Hounds were 10-for-24 beyond the three-point line but struggled at the foul line, shooting just 9-of-20. The Greyhounds did have a 37-34 edge in rebounds.

Holder opened the scoring with a three-pointer just six seconds into the contest, and Davis connected on a trey for a 6-5 edge for Moravian. Murray connected on a free throw to give the Hounds a three-point lead, 10-7, at the 16:23, and the Blue and Grey would make the lead four, 15-11, when Martino connected from beyond the three-point arc.

Davis put back an offensive rebound as the Greyhounds led 19-15 with 12:08 left in the first half; however, the Blue Jays scored the next eight points to take a 23-19 advantage. Holder knotted the score at 23-23 but Elizabethtown would outscore Moravian 17-6 over the final seven and half minutes of the opening half to head to the locker room with a 40-29 lead.

Murray opened the second half with a lay-up, and Holder had a pair of free throws to get the deficit back to single digits at 42-33 just 1:49 after the half started. However, the Blue Jays scored 10 of the next 13 points in the contest with a three-point play putting Elizabethtown up 16 points, 52-36, with 13:59 on the clock.

Trailing 53-38, O'Connor started a 15-0 run with a lay-up at 13:17. O'Connor followed that up with a three-pointer before Casazza connected on back-to-back three-pointers to pull the Blue and Grey within four points, 53-49, at 11:08. Martino and Barnes added lay-ups with Barnes' shot tying the game at 53-53 with 9:38 to play.

Martino would give Moravian its first lead since the first half when he connected on a three-pointer at 8:06 for a 58-55 edge but the Blue Jays answered with a 9-0 run to build a 64-58 advantage. Murray hit a jumper and a three-pointer to pull the Hounds within a point, 64-63, with 3:48 to go but the Blue Jays once again extended the lead to five points, 68-63, with 2:19 to play. Barnes hit two free throws at 1:35 to make it a one possession game, and neither team would score until Martino hit his three-pointer from the corner in front of the Moravian bench with eight seconds left. After being fouled on the shot, Martino hit the free throw for the lead, and Elizabethtown's three-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off of the rim.

The Greyhounds will return to action on Wednesday, December 6 in a non-conference game versus Penn State Lehigh Valley with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m. in Johnston Hall.