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ELIZABETHTOWN COLLEGE MEN'S BASKETBALL
Etown Comes from Behind to Defeat Moravian, 71-62, in Commonwealth Conference Playoff Semifinal
ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. --- Second-seeded Elizabethtown outlasted a strong challenge from third-seeded Moravian in a 71-62 Commonwealth Conference playoff semifinal victory at home Wednesday night. Etown improved to 9-0 all-time in postseason games at home with the win. The Blue Jays now advance to Saturdays conference championship game, to be held on the road against top-seeded Susquehanna at 7:30 p.m., to pursue a second consecutive conference championship and automatic NCAA Division III tournament bid. The Blue Jays have never won a conference title or competed in the NCAA tournament two years in a row.
Etown improved to 17-8 overall with the win, while Moravian concluded its season 16-10. For much of the game, however, it looked as though Elizabethtown would be the team whose season would end abruptly. Etown fell behind quickly at the start of the game, but came back to take a 15-13 lead on a layup by Brian Loftus (Doylestown, PA/Central Bucks West) with 11:18 remaining in the first half. Moravian regained a 17-15 lead on a Chris Bentley layup at 10:00, and held the lead until a pair of Loftus free throws tied the game at 28-28 with 2:35 left in the half. Moravian regained the lead seconds later, and the Greyhounds carried a 35-32 lead into halftime.
Loftus hit a three-pointer with 17:25 remaining in the game to knot the game in a 37-37 tie. Etown took a 39-37 lead on a pair of free throws by Kyle Stem (Lincoln University, PA/Salesianum). Moravian tied the game eight seconds later on a Brian Zaleski layup, and a Chad Heller (New Holland, PA/Garden Spot) layup returned a 41-39 lead to Etown at 14:29. Moravian tied the game one more time at 41-41 with 14:02 left on another Zaleski layup. Etown went up to stay at 13:13, when a Loftus three-pointer gave the Blue Jays a 44-41 lead, although Moravian did come within one point of Etown on three more occasions, with 12:57, 12:28 and 11:16 remaining. The Blue Jays went up by as many as 12 points at 7:36.
Loftus led Elizabethtown in scoring with 15 points. Jon English (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddon Township) scored 14 points for the Blue Jays, and he and Andrew Flynn (Chalfont, PA/Central Bucks West) tied for the team lead in rebounding with seven boards each.
Zaleski led Moravian in scoring with 19 points and in rebounding with eight rebounds. Ken Greb added 10 points for Moravian, and Lucas Malishchak had seven assists.
2/26/03 7:30 p.m. at Thompson Gymnasium, Elizabethtown, Pa.
Moravian College.............. 35 27 - 62
3-point goals-Moravian College 4-17 (Kevin Wyers 2-4; Steve Weiler 1-3; Willie Reynolds 1-4; Kevin Burke 0-1; Ed Reid 0-1; Ken Greb 0-1; Brandon Zaleski 0-3), Elizabethtown College 5-12 (Brian Loftus 2-6; Jon Connor 2-5; Jim Barron 1-1). Fouled out--Moravian College-Steve Weiler, Elizabethtown College-Jon English; Chad Heller. Rebounds-Moravian College 23 (Brandon Zaleski 8), Elizabethtown College 34 (Jon English 7; Andrew Flynn 7). Assists-Moravian College 17 (Lucas Malishchak 7), Elizabethtown College 15 (Jon Connor 4; Brian Loftus 4). Total fouls-Moravian College 22, Elizabethtown College 21. A-750
Commonwealth Conference playoff semifinal round game. Etown will play Susquehanna at Susquehanna in the conference championship Saturday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m.