Selinsgrove, Pa.- The Juniata men's basketball team last second three was off the mark as they fell at Susquehanna, 70-68, Wednesday evening at Houts Gymnasium.
Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, Pa./Bishop Carroll) had a career-high 28 points and five rebounds, Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa../Manheim Township) had 14 points, six assists and four rebounds while Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson Pa./Bishop Carroll) had seven points, six assists and four rebounds. Paul Martello (York, Pa./York Catholic) added six points off the bench while Wil Peralta (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) did a bit of everything as he tallied five points, three rebounds, three assists three steals and a block.
A Lee foul shot opened the scoring, followed by a Martinazzi layup, a Brewer three off a pass from Peralta and a Lee layup gave JC an early 8-0 lead in the first four minutes. The River Hawks finally scored and pulled within two at 13-11 with 10 minutes left in the first half. Brewer assisted Martello on a layup while he was being fouled, and following the made free throw JC led 16-11. Peralta scored inside, Damon Rickens (Altoona, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle) hit a three, Martello scored inside off another assist by Brewer, and Martinazzi sunk a three off a Martello assist as the Eagles opened a 26-11 lead. Susquehanna closed the half on a 10-4 run as JC led, 30-21 at halftime.
The teams traded points early in the second half, with Lee scoring inside while being fouled and sinking the free throw to push the lead back into double digits early on. The River Hawks kept chipping away at the JC lead with back to back layups with 10 minutes to go in the half pulling them within five at 47-42. A midrange jumper got them within three before a Jake Holsopple (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) nailed a jumper and Peralta made a free throw to push the lead back to six.
The River Hawks got back within three before Brewer sunk a triple of a Martinazzi pass to again push the deficit to six; but a three and two foul shots pulled Susquehanna within one with 6:53 to go. After a Brewer bucket off a Peralta assist, Susquehanna scored inside, stole the ball back and sunk a three to take the lead at 57-55.
The teams tied four times over the next four minutes. With a minute and a half to go, Lee drove from the right side and scored with a sweeping left-hand layup to give JC the lead back at 68-67. Juniata fouled and Susquehanna made both foul shots to retake the lead, and JC missed two foul shots of their own with 46 seconds left. Following a Susquehanna timeout, JC was called for another foul and the River Hawks split their foul shots. Juniata grabbed the rebound and quickly called time out. On the ensuing possession, a difficult entry pass to Lee was a just too high and went out with four seconds left.
Following an Eagle timeout, Susquehanna threw a long pass past half court and it took JC three seconds to foul. Susquehanna missed both shots, and JC again quickly called time out. The final three did not fall as the Eagles fell to 13-3, 2-3 in the Landmark.
They will host Moravian, Saturday at 2:00.