PITTSBURGH, PA- The Juniata men's basketball team returned to the hardwood after a two and a half week layoff on Wednesday afternoon. The Eagles led for most of the first half but host Carnegie Mellon came back to outscore Juniata 29-17 and win 55-45 at Skibo Gymnasium. The loss evens JC's record at 5-5 while the Tartans stay undefeated at 9-0.
Trevor Clune (Meadville, Pa./Meadville Area) scored the game's first five points as his first basket came on a three-point shot and then sank two free throws to put Juniata up 5-0. The Eagles increased their lead to eight points, 16-8, following a jumper by Kyle Koehler (Chester Springs, Pa./Devon Prep) at 11:48.
The Eagle lead grew to 10 points, 24-14, with 8:16 showing on the game clock. An 11-0 run by CMU, however, erased Juniata's double-digit advantage and gave the Tartans a 26-24 lead with 3:43 remaining in the half. Two free throws by Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) tied the contest up at 26-all with just under two minutes to play in the frame. Koehler converted a layup at 1:26 as the Eagles went into the locker room ahead 28-26.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Juniata pushed its lead up to four with two free throws coming from Dennis Fisher (Bellefonte, Pa/Bald Eagle Area). A 14-1 run by Carnegie Mellon broke the game open as the Tartans took a 42-31 lead with exactly 11 minutes to play.
Six straight points by the Eagles knocked the Tartan lead to five points, 42-27, with 8:49 remaining. It would be as close as Juniata could get as a 13-4 run by Carnegie Mellon that covered over six minutes of game time gave the home team a 14-point advantage with 2:14 left and enough of a cushion to come away with the win.
The Eagles were led by Koehler's 12 points. He also added six rebounds. Clune finished with eight points, four boards, two assists, and two steals.
Both teams struggled shooting from the floor with Juniata holding a slim 29.5% (13-of-44) advantage to Carnegie Mellon's 28.1% (16-of-57). The two schools were nearly identical in three point percentage as the Eagles shot 38.5% (5-of-13) to the Tartan's 38.1% (8-of-21).
Juniata returns to action in the New Year when they travel to Madison, NJ on Saturday to play Drew in Landmark Conference competition. Game time will be at 4 p.m. following the women's game at 2 p.m.