The Moravian College men's basketball team was defeated, 74-73, in heartbreaking fashion Tuesday night by rival Muhlenberg College. Freshman guard Malique Killing made a last second layup to win the game for the Mules. Junior guard D.J. Strayhorn led the way for the Greyhounds with 21 points, four steals, four assists and three rebounds.
Moravian would start off the game with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Kenny Gula. Gula would go three-for-four from three-point range in the first half. The Mules on the back of senior All-American forward Spencer Liddic, who would make two free throws to take a 10-7 lead with 15:26 left in the first half. Freshman guard Kevin Pankonien would drill a shot from beyond the arc to knot the game at ten.
It would be back and forth action until Strayhorn would steal a pass then lay it in off the break away to give Moravian a 21-18 lead with nine minutes to go in the half. Liddic for the Mules would make two more free throws to bring them within one point of the lead. Gula would then step back and nail his third three-pointer of the half to give the Greyhounds a 27-24 lead but Liddic would answer with a layup of his own to make 27-26 with 3:37 left in the half.
Junior forward Aaron Thieme would tally the last four points of the half for the Greyhounds as they took a 31-27 lead into the locker room. Gula would end the half with nine points while Strayhorn had seven points, three assists, three steals and two rebounds. For Muhlenberg, Liddic tallied nine points and nine rebounds.
The second half would be a battle between till the end with both teams exchanging leads back and forth. Sophomore guard Austin Curry would start the half with a three-pointer for the Mules, then a layup by freshman forward AJ Dean would give Muhlenberg a 32-31 lead just 30 seconds into the half.
The back and forth action would continue until just under ten minutes to go when Strayhorn would steal the ball and run down the court for an easy layup to give the Greyhounds a 55-51 advantage. Moravian would keep its lead as high as five points until Gula would make two free throws to push the lead to six with just under four minutes to go. Freshman guard Izel Dickerson would make one free throw to extend the Greyhounds lead to 72-65 with 2:49 left.
The Mules would start clawing back into the game when freshman guard Malique Killing would drive to the basket, make the layup and draw the foul. He would complete the three-point play to make the score 73-69. After a steal by Killing, he would get fouled by Strayhorn and make one-of-two at the line to bring the Mules within three points. Moravian would miss two free throw shots at the other end of the court, and Killing would get the ball back and make another layup to cut the deficit to 73-72 with just under one minute to go.
After a missed layup by Gula, Liddic got the rebound with 22 seconds to go. Mules Head Coach Scott McClary would call a timeout to set up his final play of the game with nine seconds left. Muhlenberg would go back to Killing as he drove the ball into the paint threw up the shot with two seconds to go as it went in. Junior guard Garrett Johnson would throw up one last heave from half court, but it came up just short as time expired.
Gula finished with a career-high 18 points while going 4-for-6 from three-point range. Junior forward Aaron Thieme had a career-high in points with eight and rebounds with nine. Johnson finished with six points and six rebounds while Pankonien tallied nine points and one rebound in his collegiate debut. Sophomore forward Cameron Cullen added four points, five rebounds and a steal while Dickerson tallied five points and two assists.
The Mules top scorer was Killing with 17 points. Liddic tallied 14 points and 15 rebounds while Dean totaled 16 points and 11 rebounds. Curry contributed 13 points as well.
The Greyhounds had 26 points off the bench as opposed to 11 for the Mules. Moravian also had a points off of turnovers advantage at 22-13.
Moravian returns to action this Friday and Saturday, November 19-20 when they travel to Muhlenberg College for the Scotty Wood Tournament. The Greyhounds take on Immaculata University at 3 p.m. on Friday. The winner of that game will take on the winner of the Muhlenberg/SUNY Cobleskill game at 8 p.m. on Saturday. The remaining teams will play in a consolation game at 3 p.m. on Saturday.