Mosley Leads Falcons To Backyard Win Over E-Town, 63-56
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By Bryn Swartz, GoMessiah.com reporter
"There was definitely a sense of focused desperation," said guard Trey Ritzman, the lone fourth-year senior member of the team. "We were hungry and Coach Van Pelt prepared us well for the intensity of a Messiah-Elizabethtown matchup."
Van Pelt's preparation for his squad paid off, as the Falcons used a late charge against the Blue Jays (1-5, 0-2) to hold on for a 63-56 victory, improving their record to 3-3 on the season.
Junior Derek Mosley led both teams with 24 points, his career high, and the most points by a member of the Messiah men's basketball team since Jamie Yoder scored 25 in an 80-70 win against Penn State Harrisburg on January 6th, 2010. Mosley's night included five consecutive three point shots made, as well as a team-leading five rebounds. He played all 40 minutes of the game.
"He's our go-to guy," said Messiah's head coach, Rick Van Pelt. "He's just getting himself back into shape (from back surgery last season) and he's working and getting better. His teammates trust him and they like to go to him."
Sophomore David Fernandez scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, plus 3-of-3 from the foul line. Zach Hoy scored 15 off the bench, including a perfect 6-of-6 on free throws. As a team, the Falcons shot 23-of-42 from the field (54.8 percent), plus 11-of-12 from the foul line.
"Elizabethtown is one of the hardest playing teams in the league," Mosley said. "We knew it would be a war. I thought we moved the ball well on offense and a lot of guys knocked down some big shots."
Mosley could not have been more right, as right from the start, the game was indeed a war.
The Falcons (3-3, 1-1) led for most of the first half, and Mosley scored 15 of the team's first 19 points. Elizabethtown took a 20-19 lead but the Falcons scored nine in a row and led 30-24 heading into halftime.
The game featured four lead changes over the second half, and when Elizabethtown tied the game at 52 with 5:43 remaining, the Falcons seemed in jeopardy of their fourth straight loss. But the Falcons used a late rally, highlighted by layups from Fernandez and Ritzman, and four free throws from Hoy, to secure a 63-56 victory.
"It was a typical Messiah-E-town game," Van Pelt said. "We knew it was going to be tight. E-town always finds another gear when they're down and they're needing to come back. They're probably the toughest team in the league when it comes to trying to come up with rebounds and loose balls. I thought we did a better job in the second half and it could have made the difference in the game."
Although the Falcons collected their biggest victory of the season, to date, it wasn't perfect.
"One of the things we emphasize is 'don't turn over a turnover'", Van Pelt said. "That's a killer and we did that several times today. We can't afford to do that. We had 15 turnovers and we only forced nine turnovers so we've got to a better job of not turning the ball over."
The Falcons return to their home court on Wednesday, December 6th to take on Penn State Harrisburg (4-2). Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.