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Hounds Head to Holiday Break with Win over Eastern in Hoop MIA D3 Holiday Shootout

C.J. Barnes '20 attempts a free throw versus Eastern University in the Hoop MIA D3 Holiday Shootout played at Barry University in Miami, Florida.
C.J. Barnes '20 attempts a free throw versus Eastern University in the Hoop MIA D3 Holiday Shootout played at Barry University in Miami, Florida.

MIAMI, Fla. --- The Moravian College men's basketball team hit triple digits for the first time this season with a 100-96 victory over host Eastern University Tuesday evening on the second day of action in the 3rd Annual Hoop MIA D3 Holiday Shootout being hosted by the Eagles at Barry University in Miami.

The Greyhounds, who head to the holiday break with an 8-2 record and are now 7-0 when scoring at least 75 points in a game in 2017-18, had four players in double figures led by junior guard Jimmy Murray, who netted 22 points to go with four rebounds, and he was 5-for-5 on three-pointers. Sophomore guard C.J. Barnes added 18 points, four boards and a pair of steals while junior forward Oneil Holder contributed 13 points and five rebounds and junior guard Nicholas Casazza had 11 points and three steals.

Junior guard Will Brazukas contributed nine points, seven assists and three steals for Moravian while sophomore forward Addis Ralph had a career-high eight points to go with four boards. Senior guard Matt Cardonne and freshman guard Matt O'Connor both had five points with Cardonne adding two assists and two steals. Sophomore guard Elijah Davis tossed in four points while senior forward Khalil Rhett added three points, three rebounds and two assists and sophomore guard Mike Martino had two points and three assists.

Moravian connected on 35-of-68 field goal attempts (51.5 percent) in the game, and the squad was 16-for-28 on three-pointers (57.1 percent) and 14-of-22 at the foul line in the contest. The Greyhounds had a hot-shooting first half as the squad connected on 20-of-36 field goal attempts (55.6 percent) and 12-of-18 shots beyond the three-point line (66.7 percent). The Blue and Grey's pressure defense forced the Eagles into 23 turnovers in the game

Eastern opened the scoring before the Greyhounds took a 3-2 lead on a three-pointer by Brazukas after a steal by Rhett as part of the Hounds' full court press. Murray connected on his first three-pointer of the game to give Moravian a 6-5 lead, an advantage they would maintain for the rest of the evening, and the Hounds jumped out to a 21-10 lead after a pair of three-pointers by Barnes and a lay-up by O'Connor off of another steal. Martino connected on a jumper seven minutes into the contest that gave the Blue and Grey a 23-10 advantage.

The Eagles would pull within six points at 26-20 but back-to-back three-pointers from Davis and O'Connor had the Greyhounds' edge back to 12 points, 32-20, with 7:24 to play in the opening half. Holder scored off of an offensive rebound to make Moravian's lead 40-24, the largest edge of the contest, with just over five minutes before the intermission. Murray's fifth three-pointer of the first half had the Hounds up 52-37 with two minutes before halftime; however, Eastern scored the last seven points of the half to cut the Greyhounds' advantage to 52-44 as the teams headed to the locker room.

Holder sank a pair of free throws to begin the scoring in the second half, and the Hounds led 61-46 four minutes into the half after a jumper by Cardonne. The Eagles scored 11 straight points to pull within 61-57 before a jumper by Murray, a lay-up by Ralph and a three-pointer by Barnes extended Moravian's edge into double digits again. The Eagles eventually closed within four points, 85-81, before Murray sank two free throws with just over two and a half minutes left on the clock. Casazza would hit back-to-back three-pointers on two straight possessions to push the Blue and Grey's advantage back to double digits at 95-84. Casazza hit two free throws and Barnes and Murray each connected once at the charity stripe in the final 30 seconds to seal the victory.

The Greyhounds will have 11 days off before returning to action on Saturday, December 30 when the squad hosts Bryn Athyn College in the opening game of the 38th Roosevelt's 21st Greyhound Classic with tip-off set for 4:30 p.m. in Johnston Hall.

Photo courtesy of Eastern University Athletic Communications