BRADFORD, PA.- A Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) steal with three seconds left prevented a potential Pitt-Bradford game-winning basket as Juniata defeated the Panthers 74-72 on Monday evening. The win gives JC a record of 6-3 while the Panthers fall to 3-5 overall.
After the steal, Brewer was fouled which sent him to the free throw line. He made his first but missed his second and Pitt-Bradford's Jaewon Mitchell came down with the rebound. Sahlil Harris heaved a desperation three-point attempt but it fell short as the Eagles walked away with the victory.
Juniata won despite two of its starters fouling out. Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, Pa./Bishop Carroll) scored 14 points and had three rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one blocked shot. Dennis Fisher (Bellefonte Area, Pa./Bald Eagle Area) added eight points and three rebounds.
The Eagles were on fire in the first half as they converted nearly 73% of their shots from the floor. JC made its first three shots to lead 6-0 in the opening minutes of the game. Juniata led 20-12 at 13:23 following a three-point basket from Damon Rickens (Altoona, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle). The Panthers would close to 20-17 but Rickens restored the eight-point advantage for the Eagles with a trey and a layup to put JC ahead 25-17 with 10:47 left to play in the half. Rickens' five points were part of a 9-0 run for the Eagles as they went ahead 29-17 with 9:46 left.
The Panthers were able to close the gap to 36-32 with 4:37 remaining on the clock. The JC lead was five points, 41-36, after a jumper from Trevor Clune (Meadville, Pa./Meadville Area) with 1:15 showing on the clock. A foul by Clune put Pitt-Bradford's Christian Kelly-Perkins on the charity stripe and he hit both shots with 19 seconds remaining as Juniata led 41-38 at halftime.
In the second half, the Panthers kept up with the Eagles and would not allow them to run away with the game. Clinging to a two-point lead, 51-49, with 14:29 to go, Juniata got off an 11-2 run to jump ahead 62-51 at 11:07.
Pitt-Bradford refused to go down as it chipped away at the Eagle advantage. A three-pointer from Harris tied the contest at 66-all with 5:17 to go. The Panthers took their first lead of the game after a free throw from Evan Greening at 3:31. A layup from Brewer followed by a three-point shot from Brandon Martinazzi put the Eagles up 71-67 with 2:30 left. The Panthers responded immediately with a three-pointer from Fateem Brockington six seconds later to cut the Juniata lead to 71-70.
The score remained 71-70 until a Harris jumper gave Pitt-Bradford a 72-71 lead with 33 seconds to play. A Panther foul put Martinazzi on the free throw line and he made both of his shots to give JC a 73-72 lead with 15 seconds left. That was all the Eagles needed as Brewer's free throw completed the scoring.
Martinazzi led Juniata with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Brewer added 14 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals.
The Eagles finished with a 54% field goal percentage. They were outrebounded by the Panthers 31-28. JC led in points in the paint 34-26.
Juniata returns to the court after Christmas on December 29 when it competes in the DeSales Holiday Tournament. JC will play Alvernia at 8:00 p.m.