Courtesy of Moravian Athletics
BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The second seeded Moravian College men's basketball squad raced out to a 10-point lead just over three minutes into action and posted a 91-73 victory over third seed Susquehanna University in the Landmark Conference Semifinals Thursday night in Johnston Hall to advance to the Landmark Conference Championship game for the third straight winter.
The Greyhounds, now 18-8 on the year, will travel to Drew University on Sunday, February 24 at 1:00 p.m. to defend their Landmark Conference title and play for an automatic berth in the 2019 NCAA Division III Tournament. The Hounds have won their straight Landmark Semifinal games in Johnston Hall before heading on the road for the conference title contest. The Blue and Grey have reached the 18-win plateau for the third consecutive season and just the eighth time in the program's 82-year history.
"I thought we got off to a great start," stated Head Coach Justin Potts. "I thought the experience that we have showed tonight. I give coach Marcinek's team a lot of credit, they are really good. I thought we made some good adjustments on some things going into the game. Our guys executed probably the best we've played from start to finish, which is always the hope that you're playing at this time of the year. I really appreciate the fan support we got in Johnston Hall, it was a great environment tonight and I'm just really proud of our guys."
All five of Moravian starters scored in double figures as the starting line-up accounted for 81 of the 91 points in the contest. Senior forward Oneil Holder scored a game-high 24 points to move into fourth in school history with 1,595 points, and he added nine rebounds, moving into sixth all-time with 694 boards, three assists, three steals and a pair of blocked shots. Senior guard Jimmy Murray tossed in 16 points to pull within seven points of 1,500 in his career while junior guard C.J. Barnes had 15 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Senior guard Will Brazukas tossed in 14 points to go with six assists and three steals while senior guard Elijah Davis had 12 points, three assists and three blocked shots.
Senior guard Nicholas Casazza tossed in six points on a pair of three-pointers while sophomore guard Matt O'Connor added five rebounds and two points and sophomore guard Shon Wilson had two points.
The Greyhounds connected on 29-of-54 field goal attempts, 10-of-25 three-pointers and 23-of-31 free throws in the game while holding a 37-32 advantage on the boards. Moravian's up-tempo style forced the River Hawks into 16 turnovers.
Brazukas, Murray and Barnes each hit three-pointers to push the Blue and Grey out to a quick 9-0 lead, and a three-pointer from Davis had Moravian up 12-2 at the 16:55 mark. The edge would reach 19 points, 25-6, on a three-pointer by Casazza at the 10:48 mark, and the next basket by Holder at 8:58 had the Greyhounds leading 27-6, their largest lead of the game. Susquehanna would close within 11 points before Moravian headed to the locker room with a 47-32 advantage.
The River Hawks scored first in the second half before Murray drained a three-pointer. Susquehanna would close within 12 points eight minutes into the half; however, Moravian pushed the edge back to 21 points, 75-54, on a Holder lay-up with 8:32 to go. The Hounds kept the advantage above 15 points the rest of the way.