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Monday, November 15, 2010 - page 2

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men’s basketball toughs out win in opener

Most who looked up at the scoreboard with about 11 minutes left in the Muhlenberg men's basketball team's season opener against Moravian probably saw a game that was slipping away from the Mules. But that's not what Justin Greenstone saw.

"I looked up at the clock at that time, and thought about all the time in practice when we do time and score situations," said the junior. "It makes you dig down deep.

"It was mental toughness that won us the game."

Mental toughness, with a dash of Curry. Freshman Austin Curry scored
Austin Curry
Curry had 14 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in the second half alone.
eight of his 18 points in a game-closing 15-3 run as Muhlenberg pulled out a hard-fought 68-60 victory.

Junior Spencer Liddic added 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Mules, who twice came back from double-digit deficits to defeat their local rivals. Combined with a win by the women's basketball team in the first game of the doubleheader, this result gave Muhlenberg a 6-3 lead in the Matte Award standings.

The game - and season - did not exactly get off on the right foot. The Greyhounds had two spectacular dunks and made three three-pointers in the first 5:07 to build an 18-6 lead.

Muhlenberg gradually chipped away, however, holding
James Albano
Freshman James Albano scored 5 points in his college debut. Four freshmen (Curry, Albano, Kevin Hargrove and Timmy Harwood) combined for 28 of the Mules' 68 points.
Moravian without a field goal for a four-minute stretch late in the first half to draw within one at 30-29. The margin remained one, 33-32, at the half.

Contributing to the Greyhounds' offensive woes were a pair of drawn charges by Greenstone, the team leader in that department last year.

"Their point guard [a transfer from Marywood who scored 18 points] was very talented," said Greenstone. "I took a gamble, and luckily it worked out and got us some momentum going the other way."

The Mules finally took their first lead at 34-33 on a fast-break layup by senior Evan Tozer off a pass from Curry in the first minute of the half. But then they hit a dry spell, going more than six minutes without a field goal while Moravian opened up a 51-40 lead at the 11-minute mark.

Liddic broke the drought with a three-pointer from the corner, and threes on back-to-back possessions by sophomore Matt O'Hara and Curry concluded the 9-0 run that made it a close game again.

Moravian led 57-53 at the five-minute mark when Curry hit a three. After a Greyhound free throw, Curry drove through the lane for a scoop shot to tie the score at 58. A pair of Liddic free throws put Muhlenberg ahead to stay, and Curry slipped behind a screen to hit another three-pointer for a five-point lead with 3:09 to play.

Curry added three free throws in the final minute to ice the win. His 18 points were the most by a Mule freshman in his first game in seven years.

"He was outstanding, both offensively and defensively," said Greenstone of his starting backcourt mate. "With him in there, we really felt we were in control the whole game, no matter what it said on the scoreboard."
Click here for box score.
Click here for complete stats.

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