GREYHOUNDS COMEBACK FALLS SHORT IN STARTERS CLASSIC
The Moravian College men's basketball team fell to Albright College 76-71 in the championship game of the 34th Annual Greyhound Starters Classic. Senior center Derek Hall of the Lions was named the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament as he recorded 18 points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
Albright got on the board first with an east layup from Hall. Hall and junior guard Cornell Mickens would convert on Albright's next two possessions to give the Lions an early 6-1 lead. Junior guard D.J. Strayhorn, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, would hit a three to bring the Hounds back within two points. Mickens and sophomore guard Kyle Jordan would push Albright's lead back to six at 10-4 just three minutes into the game.
After layup from junior guard Garrett Johnson, who earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team, Moravian would get the ball back and junior forward Aaron Thieme would hit a deep three to make the score, 11-10 Albright with 14:50 remaining in the half. Senior forward Shane Irwin, who was selected to the All-Tournament Team, would counter with a three of his own, and then a jumper from Hall put the Lions on top 16-10 with just under 14 minutes to go in the first half.
Albright would push its lead to 21-14 with 10:46 remaining, but a three-pointer from senior forward Jeff Cullinan and a layup from senior forward Marcus Hardy would bring Moravian within one point of the lead. Sophomore guard Kenny Gula would give the Greyhounds their first lead of the night at 22-21 with 7:43 remaining in the half.
The Lions would then go on an 11-2 run capped by a three from sophomore guard Pedro Perez to push Albright back in front, 32-24 with just under four minutes left in the first half. Both teams would exchange baskets the rest of the half as the Lions would take a 40-32 lead into the locker room.
Moravian shot 40 percent from the field while Albright shot 53.6 percent from the field in the first half. Both teams brought down 18 rebounds. Johnson led the way for the Greyhounds in the first half with eight points and three boards while Hall led the Lions with 11 points and three boards.
Sophomore guard Sam Marrella would start the second half for Albright with a rainbow three to push its lead to 43-32. Hardy would answer with a layup of his own to bring the Hounds within nine points of the lead. After two baskets from Albright, Gula would hit a deep three to make the score 47-37 with 16:44 left in the contest.
The two teams would keep exchanging baskets for the next five minutes as the Lions maintained its lead at 56-45 with less than 11 minutes remaining in the contest. Junior guards Dave singleton and Zach Benjamin would make back-to-back layups to extend Albright's lead to 17 points at 62-45 with 8:36 left in the game.
Strayhorn would connect from deep and Thieme would hit a jumper to make the score 62-50 with just over seven minutes remaining in the second half. Strayhorn would connect on six free throws on Moravian's next three possessions to make the score 63-56 with 5:40 remaining in the game. Gula would then drive to hoop and make the basket while drawing the and one. He would connect on the free throw as the Greyhounds would make the score 63-59 with 5:18 to go.
With a jumper from Strayhorn, Moravian would bring itself within three points of the lead with just under four minutes remaining. With a steal from Hardy, it would set up freshman guard Izel Dickerson for the three as Moravian closed the gap to 70-69 with 2:36 left in the contest. After a block by Hardy, Strayhorn would hit the deep two as the Greyhounds regain the lead, 71-70 with under two minutes to go. Singleton for Albright answered right back to give the lead back to the Lions. Albright would connect on two free throws to extend its lead to 74-71 with 40 seconds remaining in the contest. That would be all the Greyhounds could handle, as their comeback would come up just short.
Leading the way for Moravian was Strayhorn, who scored 22 points, had six board, four assists and three steals. Johnson had ten points while Gula had ten points, five assists and four rebounds. Hardy brought down eight rebounds to go with his eight points while Thieme had nine points, three assists and three boards.
Irwin had 12 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Lions while Mickens had ten points, four boards and four assists.
The Greyhounds finished the game shooting 42.1 percent from the field while Albright shot 58.3 percent. The Lions brought down 32 rebounds compared to 31 by Moravian.
Senior guard Tavon McNair of SUNY Old Westbury and senior guard Latrell Alford of Valley Forge Christian College also made the All-Tournament Team.
Moravian returns to action Friday, January 6th as they host conference foe The Catholic University of America. The contest is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Johnston Hall.