Lancaster, Pa.- The #23 Juniata men's basketball team narrowly edged Lancaster Bible, 57-54, Wednesday evening.
Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, Pa./Bishop Carroll) had seventeen points and seven rebounds while Damon Rickens (Altoona, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle) had 10 points and six rebounds. Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) tallied seven points, five rebounds and three steals while Nathan Markey (York, Pa./Central York) added six points off the bench.
The Chargers scored the first points of the game, as JC faced an early 5-0 deficit. Wil Peralta (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) drilled a jumper from inside the arc, and Lee nailed a three from the top of the key to quickly tie the game.
JC began to find their feet on offense, as a Rickens triple off a Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa./Bishop Carroll) assist, a Lee jumper and a Markey three of a pass from Paul Martello (York, Pa./York Catholic) made it 13-7. The Chargers hung around, and with 5:15 to go in the half led 23-22, before Brewer found Marcus Hall (York, Pa./Trinity) inside as JC retook the lead 23-22. The teams traded baskets, with a Charger layup in the final seconds of the half tying the score at 30-30.
JC opened the second half with a 13-3 run, capped by a Peralta steal that turned into a Martinazzi made jumper on the other end as JC led 43-33.
The Chargers kept chipping away, and with 3:44 left in the game, a Lancaster Bible free throw trimmed the Juniata lead to three at 55-52. Brewer sunk two free throws to make it 57-52, the Eagle defense forced back to back turnovers but could not add to their lead. With 1:31 remaining, Juniata called timeout after another stop. JC missed their next two shots, and with 36 seconds left the Chargers went to the foul line. They made both to make it 57-54. The Eagles missed with 11 seconds remaining, so the Chargers had a chance to tie, but the Eagles forced a missed to seal the game.
Juniata moves to 12-0 and will face conference foe Catholic, Saturday at 2:00.