Moravian Clinches Second Seed in Landmark Tournament with Victory at Elizabethtown

Senior guard Will Brazukas drives down the lane versus Goucher College in Johnston Hall.
Senior guard Will Brazukas drives down the lane versus Goucher College in Johnston Hall.

ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. --- The Moravian College men's basketball team clinched the second seed in the upcoming 2019 Landmark Conference Tournament with an 83-75 victory at Elizabethtown College Saturday afternoon to close out the regular season.

The Greyhounds, now 17-8 overall and 10-4 in the Landmark Conference regular season, will begin defense of their Landmark Conference title by hosting third seed Susquehanna University in a Landmark Conference Semifinal on Wednesday, February 20 beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Johnston Hall.

The Hounds had three players in double figures in the win over the Blue Jays led by senior guard Jimmy Murray, who had 19 points to go with three rebounds. Junior guard C.J. Barnes tossed in 17 points and grabbed four boards while senior forward Oneil Holder added his fourth double-double of the season and 16th of his career with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Holder, who played in his school record 106th game of his career, is fifth all-time with 1,571 points and now tied for seventh with 685 rebounds while Murray is seventh in school history with 1,477 points.

Senior guard Will Brazukas contributed seven points, four rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals while junior guard Mike Martino, sophomore guard Shon Wilson and freshman forward Steve Breeman all had five points with Wilson adding four boards and three assists and Martino making four steals. Sophomore guard Matt O'Connor had four points and three assists while senior guard Nicholas Casazza added three points and four rebounds. Juniors guard Elijah Davis and forward Addis Ralph both scored two points with Davis grabbing a pair of rebounds.

The Blue and Grey were 24-for-63 from the field, 12-for-34 beyond the three-point line and 23-for-29 at the foul line in the contest. The Hounds up-tempo style and press forced the Blue Jays into 22 turnovers while Moravian had just 13 miscues.

Elizabethtown opened the scoring and led 5-0 before Barnes connected on a three-pointer. Wilson would give the Greyhounds their first lead of the contest four minutes into action when he made a three-pointer for a 9-7 edge. The Blue Jays moved back in front by three points before a three-pointer by Casazza had Moravian leading 15-12. Martino pushed the lead to 19-14 with a lay-up, and a three-pointer by Murray had the advantage at 22-16 with ten and a half minutes left before the intermission.

Martino drilled a three-pointer with just over eight minutes in the first half as the Hounds saw their advantage reach double digits at 30-18, and a free throw from Breeman made it 31-18. However, Elizabethtown closed the first half with a 16-4 run to cut Moravian's edge to a point, 35-34, as the teams headed to the locker room.

The Blue Jays scored first in the second half to move ahead by a point before a pair of free throws by Barnes and a three-pointer from Brazukas put the Blue and Grey back up by four points, 40-36. Elizabethtown knotted the score again at 42-42 with 14:45 on the clock, and it would remain close until a three-pointer from Murray and a lay-up from Holder had Moravian leading 51-45 with 12:10 to play. The Blue Jays would close within a point again before a three-pointer by Barnes had the Greyhounds ahead, 56-50, with 10 minutes remaining.

Barnes stretched the advantage to 59-52 with 7:42 to go with a lay-up before Elizabethtown closed within a point, 63-62, again two minutes later. Murray hit a pair of free throws and O'Connor followed with a jumper and Barnes hit another three-pointer as the Hounds took control with a 70-62 advantage. Moravian would go 10-for-10 at the foul line in the final 1:08 with Brazukas and Murray each going 4-for-4 and Holder making two attempts to seal the victory.

The Hounds will make their third straight postseason appearance when they host Susquehanna in a Landmark Conference Semifinal on Wednesday, February 20 in Johnston Hall with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m.