ELIZABETHTOWN, PA- Juniata men's basketball cut a 13-point second half deficit to one point but could not get ahead as it fell to Elizabethtown 62-52 on Wednesday night at Thompson Gymnasium. The loss snaps the Eagles' three-game winning streak as they fall to 4-2 while the Blue Jays end their four-game winless steak to improve to 2-5.
Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, PA/Bishop Carroll) and Justin Fleming (Richmond, VA/Benedictine College Prep) both scored 11 points to lead Juniata. Nate Ogle (Falls Church, VA/George Mason) added nine points. Kyle Koehler (Chester Springs, PA/Devon Prep) pulled down seven rebounds and came away with three steals to lead JC.
Juniata took its biggest lead of the game, 6-2, at 17:22. Elizabethtown surged ahead with a 9-2 run with three straight three-point shots to go up 11-8 with just under 16 minutes on the clock.
The score remained at 11-8 for over three and a half minutes of game time as both teams missed shots. The Eagles cut the deficit down to two after Dennis Fisher (Bellefonte, PA/Bald Eagle Area) sank two free throws at 12:13. The Blue Jays went up by four, 14-10, after a three-pointer from Joe Bodnar but the Eagles answered with the traditional three-point play from Trevor Clune (Meadville, PA/Meadville Area) to narrow the score to 14-13 with 11 and a half minutes left on the clock.
Lee Eckert's layup pushed E-Town up by three but the Eagles had an answer with Seth Brewer's (Lancaster, PA/Manheim Township) trey at 10:13 knotting it up at 16-all at 10:13. Eight straight points from the home team, however, pushed Elizabethtown ahead 24-16 with 6:31 remaining in the first half. The Blue Jay's biggest lead came with four ticks on the game clock as Matt Lapkowicz's layup staked E-Town to a 32-22 advantage at the half.
E-Town's lead increased to 12 points in the opening minute of the second frame. JC cut the advantage in half to make it a 34-28 contest at 18:32. An 8-1 E-Town run gave it its biggest edge of night at 42-29 at 12:51. Juniata came roaring back with a huge 13-0 run to get to within one point of tying it up, 42-41, with 6:48 left to play.
Elizabethtown recovered to go ahead by nine points, 54-45, with 3:48 to play. Juniata would again fight its way back to get to within five points after a layup by Ogle at 1:31. Following a missed layup from Eckert, the Eagles came down with the rebound and looked to make it a one possession game, but Fleming would be stripped of the ball by E-Town's Phil Wenger who scored on the fast break to increase the lead to 59-52. Juniata's next possession would end in the same fashion as Lapkowicz stole the ball away from Fleming and the Blue Jays sank three out of four free throws to ice the game.
Elizabethtown shot 22-of-48 from the floor (45.8%) compared to Juniata's 20-of-50 (40%) performance. The Blue Jays led in rebounds 34-28. The two teams were even in the paint with 32 points each.
Juniata faces one of its biggest tests of the season when it travels to Scranton on Saturday to take on the #21 ranked Royals. Game time will be at 4 p.m.