Madison, N.J.- The Juniata men's basketball team lost at Drew on a layup in the final seconds, 75-74, Saturday afternoon.
Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, Pa./Bishop Carroll) tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds, Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa./Bishop Carroll) had 15 points and six rebounds while Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) had 15 points and six assists. Damon Rickens (Altoona, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle) had 11 points and six rebounds while Paul Martello (York, Pa./York Catholic) added eight points and three steals off the bench.
The Rangers came out firing early and three triples had them ahead 11-4. Wil Peralta (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) converted an and-one and made the free throw before Martello stole the ball and quickly scored to pull JC within two at 11-9 with 13 minutes left in the half. Jake Holsopple (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) drilled a jumper off a pass from Noah Neville (Westminster, Md./North Carroll) to tie the score.
Drew began to pull away over the next ten minutes, and another made three made it 29-21 inside the last four minutes. Brewer found Lee inside for a layup, found Lee again for a jumper from the left wing and then the senior point guard nailed a jumper of his own which pulled JC within four at 31-27. Martinazzi nailed a three from the top of the key off a pass from Marcus Hall (York, Pa./Trinity) to get the Eagles within one.
The Rangers sank three foul shots to go up four in the final 36 seconds of the half. After an Eagle miss, the Rangers heled the ball for a final look. Juniata's defense rotated well after several Drew drives and forced a difficult three from the corner that caromed off the rim and bounced towards midcourt. Martinazzi got to it first and raced down court. He drove left and finished over the outstretched hand of a Ranger defender as JC trailed, 34-32, at the half.
The Eagles remained on the heels of the Rangers, and two Brewer free throws narrowed the deficit to one at 47-46 with 13 minutes left. Over the next four minutes, the Rangers tried to pull away, with a layup inside giving them a nine-point edge at 55-46. Back to back buckets by Lee, a lay-up and a free throw from Brewer followed by a Rickens layup got JC back within two at 57-55, with six minutes remaining.
With two and half minutes remaining, Drew led by five before a Martinazzi layup, Martello foul shot and Brewer layup in traffic knotted the score at 69. The Rangers made two free throws, Brewer hit found Lee underneath with his man sealed behind him for an easy layup to tie things again at 71 with 67 seconds left in the contest.
Drew scored again to take the lead, and the proceeding Eagle three was off. Martello grabbed the offensive rebound and swung to Rickens in the corner, who was fouled. He made all three foul shots to give JC their first lead of the game, 74-73, with 15 seconds to go. Following a timeout, Drew eventually drove and finished inside in heavy traffic to retake the lead. JC had five seconds to go the length of the floor, and got off a heavily contested off balance three that was off.
The Eagles are now 13-2, 2-2 in the Landmark and will play at Susquehanna, Wednesday at 7:00.