BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College men's basketball team opened the 2018-19 season with an 8-0 lead on No. 15 Johns Hopkins University but the Blue Jays would rally and post an 81-75 victory over the Hounds in Johnston Hall Thursday evening.
Senior guard Jimmy Murray led the Hounds with 17 points to go with five assists while senior forward Oneil Holder added 15 point and six rebounds. Senior guard Nicholas Casazza tossed in 11 points and had three steals for the Greyhounds while sophomore guard Keith Otto had a career high nine points to go with three steals and a pair of assists. Juniors guard Elijah Davis and forward John Hargraves both had eight points with Davis snagging three rebounds and Hargraves grabbing two boards in his first game since March 2017 as he returns from missing all of last season with an injury.
Sophomore guard Shon Wilson contributed thee points for Moravian while senior guard Will Brazukas and junior center Addis Ralph both netted two points. Junior guard Mike Martino had seven rebounds in the contest while sophomore guard Matt O'Connor added two steals.
The Greyhounds' up-tempo style and pressing defense forced the Blue Jays into 20 turnovers while the Blue and Grey had just 13 turnovers to go with 14 assists and 11 steals. Both teams shot 28-of-55 from the floor with Johns Hopkins making three more three-pointers and three more free throws for the six point win. The Blue Jays also had a 35-23 advantage on the boards.
"They are a really good team, and I give a lot of credit to coach Loeffler and his staff. They were well prepared," stated Head Coach Justin Potts, who is beginning his fourth season at his alma mater. "I thought we did a lot of good things but to beat really good teams, you've got to play 40 minutes and I think we only played about 32 or 33 minutes tonight. That's just not quite good enough. We turned them over 20 times which is what we're trying to do. We didn't shoot the ball great, and we probably didn't execute on some of those turnovers at the end of the day."
Hargraves opened the scoring and his second basket of the game had the Hounds up 8-0 just over three minutes into the contest. Ralph hit a lay-up for a 14-6 advantage before Johns Hopkins closed within a point at 14-13. Moravian went on a run and led 22-15 after a lay-up by Hargraves, and a three-pointer from Wilson had the Blue and Grey leading 27-20 with 7:50 left in the first half. Holder connected on a lay-up with 4:12 before the intermission for a 33-25 advantage but the Blue Jays ended the half with a 15-2 run to head to the locker room with a 40-35 lead.
Early in the second half, Otto hit on a three-point play and Casazza followed with a lay-up as Moravian knotted the score at 43-43, and Otto added two more free throws as the Greyhounds moved back in front, 45-43, with 16:07 left in the game. The lead would go back-and-forth before a lay-up from Davis had the Blue and Grey leading 53-52 with 11 minutes left.
The Blue Jays would retake the lead with a pair of free throws 22 seconds later, and aside from two ties, Johns Hopkins would lead the rest of the way. The lead would reach 10 points, 72-62, before and 8-0 run capped by a four-point play from Otto had Moravian down just 72-70 with 2:19 left. However, the Blue Jays outscored the Greyhounds 9-5 over the final two minutes.
Moravian is scheduled to return to action on Tuesday, November 13 in a non-conference game at William Paterson (N.J.) University beginning at 8:00 p.m.