HUNTINGDON, PA- Juniata's men's basketball took a lead against Dickinson in the second half but the Red Devils recovered with a late run to win 65-59 in the championship game of the 23rd annual Doc Greene Tournament. The loss drops the Eagles to 5-4 overall while the #10 Red Devils improve to 8-1.
Dickinson looked in control early in the first half as it raced out to an 8-0 lead. The Red Devils still had an eight-point advantage, 24-16, after two free throws by Gerry Wixted with 7:41 left to play in the frame. The Eagles chipped away at the deficit as a 14-4 run tied it all up at 28-28 with 1:34 showing on the game clock. Robert Picka's layup at 1:25 pushed the Red Devil lead to two. JC had an opportunity to tie or go ahead in the waning seconds but the clock hit zero and Dickinson would lead 30-28 at halftime.
A 14-4 run by the Eagles to being the second half gave them their biggest lead of the night, 42-35, and swung momentum in their direction. Juniata held Dickinson scoreless for 4:14 of game time.
A 9-0 run by the Red Devils gave them a two-point lead, 44-42, with 10:40 to play. Kyle Koehler (Chester Springs, PA/Devon Prep) answered for the Eagles with a layup to tie the contest at 44-44 20 seconds later. Moses Romocki then hit a three-point shot at 9:31 to put the Red Devils ahead 47-44. That basket was part of a 14-4 run by Dickinson that gave it its biggest lead of the half, 58-47, with 5:11 to play.
Despite the growing deficit, the Eagles climbed their way back in as a 10-2 run, highlighted by a pair of three-pointers from Damon Rickens (Altoona, PA/Bishop Guilfoyle), got JC to within three points, 60-57, at 3:22. Juniata had a chance to tie less than a minute later but Nate Ogle (Falls Church, VA/George Mason) was off the mark on his three-point attempt. Wixted made one of two free throws and then made a layup 30 seconds later to give the Red Devils a 63-57 lead. Justin Fleming (Richmond, VA/Benedictine College Prep) converted a layup with a just under a minute left but Dickinson sank two free throws in the final 27 seconds to secure the win.
Fleming was 6-of-8 from the floor for 16 points to lead the Eagles. Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, PA/Bishop Carroll) added 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Rickens finished with eight points in just seven minutes off of the bench. Both Fleming and Lee were named to the All-Tournament Team following the conclusion of the game.
Wixted led all scorers with 24 points while adding seven rebounds and three assists. He was named the Most Valuable Player.
Juniata did outshoot their opponent as they were good on 24-of-47 shots (51.1%) to Dickinson's 22-of-45 (48.9%). The Red Devils controlled the boards with a 31-21 advantage and also outscored the Eagles 12-0 on second-chance points.
The Eagles are idle until December 31 when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on Carnegie Mellon in non-conference play. Game time will be at 2 p.m.