BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College men's basketball team scored the first six points of overtime and went on to post an 89-85 victory over visiting Drew University in Landmark Conference action in Johnston Hall Wednesday evening.
The Greyhounds, now 14-6 overall and 7-2 in Landmark Conference play, move into a tie for first place in league action with the Rangers with five games remaining in the regular season.
"I think this time of the year that they're all big games," stated Head Coach Justin Potts. "Coach Keckler has a very good team, and I think both teams played at a very high level. Similar to when we played at their place, it came down to the last couple of possessions. This time we found a way to make plays. I thought our pressure was good tonight, and it at least disrupted them tonight. It was a good team win, and two really good teams playing really good basketball in January."
Moravian had four players in double figures in the win led by senior guard Jimmy Murray, who scored a game-high 24 points to go with two rebounds. Junior guard C.J. Barnes contributed 22 points and seven boards while senior forward Oneil Holder had 14 points, six rebounds and six assists as he moved into ninth in school history with 651 rebounds. Senior guard Nicholas Casazza tossed in 12 points and had three steals for the Greyhounds.
Senior guard Will Brazukas added five points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals while junior guard Elijah Davis had five points and a pair of boards. Junior guard Mike Martino contributed three points and two rebounds while sophomore guard Shon Wilson had three boards and two points. Freshman forward Steve Breeman and junior forward Addis Ralph each scored one point while sophomore guard Matt O'Connor grabbed three rebounds.
The Hounds connected on 29-of-66 field goal attempts, 10-of-30 three-pointers and 21-of-26 free throws in the contest to go with 33 rebounds. Moravian also forced Drew into 26 turnovers while only committing 15 miscues.
The Rangers scored the first five points of the game before a driving lay-up from Murray got the Blue and Grey on the scoreboard. Holder connected on a three-pointer to knot the score at 7-7 and Casazza followed with a trey for a 10-7 edge for the Hounds. The squads traded the lead three times before Drew pulled out to a 25-18 advantage.
Down by five points, Barnes connected on a trio of free throws and a Casazza came up with a steal followed by a three-point play as Moravian moved back in front 28-27 with 4:37 before the intermission. The Rangers would come back to tie the contest for the sixth time in the half at 30-30 but a pair of late free throws by Barnes sent the Greyhounds to the locker room with a 35-32 lead.
Davis opened the second half with a lay-up for a five-point edge, and a three-pointer from Barnes gave Moravian its largest lead of the game at seven points, 44-37, with 16:47 still to play. The Rangers answered with a 12-1 run to take a 49-44 lead before the Blue and Grey ran off 11 straight points to move back up 56-49 on a three-pointer from Casazza midway through the second half. Drew scored eight in a row to retake a 57-56 lead.
Casazza hit a three-pointer to give the Greyhounds a 63-59 lead with 6:07 left in regulation and Moravian would hold the lead until the final seconds of the half. The Hounds had a 73-70 edge with just 20 seconds to go but the Rangers would connect on a three-point play to knot the score with nine seconds left. Holder's final shot was blocked as the teams headed to overtime tied at 73-73.
Murray opened the extra session with a lay-up and two free throws and Holder added a lay-up as Moravian raved out to a 79-73 lead with 3:45 still to play. Murray made it a seven-point edge, 82-75, with a three-pointer and the Blue and Grey would keep the advantage above four points the rest of the way with Holder sinking two free throws with two seconds left to seal the victory despite a half-court shot at the buzzer from the Rangers.
The Greyhounds are scheduled to return to action on Saturday, February 2 in a Landmark Conference game at Juniata College beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.