Owls shake NCMC jinx at Moberly
MOBERLY -- As a horrific third quarter at Moberly degenerated Monday, Marshall had boys' basketball coach Scott Harrold couldn't help but think, "Here we go again."
The Owls had lost nearly all of what was a 17-point lead early in the period, due primarily to their old bugaboo: turnovers. However, Marshall regrouped and -- even with senior forwards Andre Johnson and Elliot Moles playing with four fouls -- made both baskets and stops when needed to hold off the Spartans for a 62-51 NCMC victory.
"They started putting some pressure on us and we didn't handle it well," Harrold said. "We got away from getting the ball inside for a while."
Johnson, continuing a string of strong performances, scored 15 second-half points as the Owls broke a five-game losing streak and a long dry spell against Moberly. The Spartans had won the last six meetings, starting in 1999, by a 37-point total -- all but one of which Marshall had led.
Through the first four minutes, it appeared it would be another typically tight match between the long-time rivals, but then the Owls got hot. Sophomore Myles Yokeley drained a three-pointer and Johnson and junior Jason Fann each hit three shots during a 22-3 run which turned a two-point deficit into a 30-13 cushion.
Marshall was still up by 17 after senior Jonathan Durham connected from outside in the opening minute of the second half, but then 10 of the Owls' next 12 possessions ended with turnovers and the Spartans went on a roll.
Seniors Cody Nolke and Dustin Tregnano combined for 11 points during Moberly's 19-5 sprint. When junior Cody Thorne sank a jumper from the elbow, the margin was down to one point heading into the fourth quarter.
This time, though, the Owls wouldn't fold. Moles got loose inside, Yokeley made a free throw and Fann struck from short range to bump the lead to six points. Marshall coughed the ball up a couple of more times, but still was ahead by four points when Johnson drew a foul while crashing the offensive boards for a deuce -- sinking the freebie to make it 51-44 with 2:30 remaining.
The Spartans never got closer. The Owls converted 11 of their next 14 charities, so even after junior Adam Patrick knocked down a three with 1:01 left the gap was still seven points. Johnson tallied nine of his game-high 25 points down the stretch.
"They really didn't have anybody to stop him," Harrold remarked. Johnson -- who also grabbed 10 rebounds -- "has been a workhorse, and the kids recognize that and are getting the ball to him."
Nolke and Tregnano split 27 points to pace Moberly (8-15, 1-5 NCMC).
Moles scored 11 points and Fann and senior Justin Frauenhoffer provided 17 points off the bench for Marshall (7-13, 1-4), which will be back home today for a tilt with league-leading Helias.
"Needless to say, we needed a win," Harrold noted. "Hopefully, this will give us a little boost."