HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata men's basketball team closed the game on a 13-5 run over the last four minutes to defeat Goucher, 75-67, Wednesday evening at Memorial Gymnasium.
Nicholas Albert (Herndon, Va. / Westfield High) got things going for the Eagles after a pair of Goucher free throws with an elbow jumper off a pass from Marcus Hall (York, Pa. / Trinity). On the next Eagle possession, Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa. / Bishop Carroll) drove past his man and laid it in off the glass. The Gophers countered with a midrange jumper as the teams felt each other out early on.
Paul Martello (York, Pa. / York Catholic) caught the ball from Martinazzi, took a dribble closer to the three-point line and swished a triple. Goucher countered with an and-one. On the offensive end, Cameron Keck (Waynesboro, Pa. / Waynesboro) tossed it inside to Jake Holsopple (Duncansville, Pa. / Hollidaysburg) who had sealed his defender and he easily laid it in.
The teams went back and forth before the Gophers took the lead with a little under seven minutes to go. Following an Eagle timeout, a John Kelly (Philadelphia, Pa. / Roman Catholic High School) and-one layup off a pass from Nate DaCanal (Johnsonburg, Pa. / Elk County Catholic) made it 26-25. Hall stole the ball on the other end, following an offensive rebound by Albert, Keck wound up with the ball behind the line and drilled a three to make 29-25. A Keck foul shot and a Hall layup off an Albert pass in the low post made it 32-28.
The Gophers scored the next seven points over the next four minutes to lead 35-32 with 30 seconds to go in the half. In the final seconds, Martello drilled a runner off the glass on the left side to cut the deficit to two heading into the locker room.
The second half saw the Eagles nipping at the heels of Goucher as they tried to catch up. With a little over six minutes to go Keck rattled home a three from the right wing to put JC ahead, 60-59. The Gophers responded with a three of their own prior to Albert finding Holsopple down low for a layup. Foul shots from DaCanal and Martinazzi made it 66-62. With just under three minutes remaining, the Gophers converted a pair of free throws to pull within two.
A Holsopple free throw expanded the lead to three. Goucher got two looks at a tying shot but missed both. After grabbing the rebound JC called timeout. Albert went up inside, missed, grabbed the rebound and laid it back in. The Gophers came down the other way and scored inside to stay within three. Albert struck again with another layup off a pass from Martello with just under a minute to go in the game. Holsopple stole the ball on the other end to essentially ice the game as the Eagles made their free throws down the stretch to grab the win.
The Eagles won with a balanced attacked as four different players scored in double figures. Juniata controlled the glass as they outrebounded the Gophers 36-23.
Juniata will return to action against Moravian, Saturday at 4:00.