WASHINGTON, DC- Freshman Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, PA/Bishop Carroll) tied a season-high with 26 points and Juniata men's basketball team shot a season-high 58.3% in three-point shots but host Catholic was too much in the end as it defeated the Eagles 74-59 at Dufour Athletic Center on Tuesday night. Lee led all scorers and was the only Juniata player to score in double figures.
The Cardinals improve to 14-3 overall and 8-0 in the Landmark Conference. Juniata falls to 8-9 overall and 2-6 in the Landmark.
Juniata jumped on Catholic early in the first half as it scored the game's first seven points within three minutes to go up 7-0. That lead ballooned to as much as 14-3 with 15:10 to play in the first half.
The Eagles' lead stood at 14-5 for over three minutes of game time as both teams traded turnovers and missed shots. Seth Brewer's (Lancaster, PA/Manheim Township) second of two free throws attempts at 11:13 increased the Eagle lead to 15-5. Catholic knocked the deficit down to seven points on a three from Corey Stanford but Juniata answered back with a trey from Brandon Drenning (Altoona, PA/Bishop Guilfoyle) that restored the JC advantage to 10 points, 18-8, at 9:48.
A 15-5 run by the Cardinals wiped out the Juniata lead and tied the contest at 23-23 with 5:25 remaining on the clock. JC inched ahead with two free throws from Nate Ogle (Falls Church, VA/George Mason) at 5:01 but Catholic took its first lead of the night on a three-point shot from Kyle Phanord, 26-25. That basket kicked off a 13-0 run for the home team as the Cardinals went ahead 36-25 with 1:50 to play.
Trevor Clune's (Meadville, PA/Meadville Area) free throw at 1:32 made it a 10-point game and a minute later, he hit a three-pointer to bring the score to 36-29. Louis Khouri's jumps shot with two ticks left put Catholic up 38-29 at halftime.
Juniata went on an 8-2 run in the opening minutes of the second half to close the deficit to 40-37 at 16:58. Catholic maintained a small advantage for most of the second half but the Eagles kept pace.
Following a three-point shot from Kyle Koehler (Chester Springs, PA/Devon Prep) at 9:03 made it a 54-41 contest in Catholic's favor. An 11-2 Cardinal run gave them a 65-53 lead with just under five minutes left in regulation. The Eagles got to within seven points, 66-59, following a three-pointer from Justin Fleming (Richmond, VA/Benedictine College Prep) at 2:38. That would be as close as Juniata would get as Catholic went on an 8-0 run to clinch the victory.
Despite the final score, Juniata led in field goal percentage with 52.6% (20-of-38) to Catholic's 51.2% (21-of-41). The Cardinals did have the advantage in rebounds, 27-19.
The Eagles continue their road trip as they head next to Moravian on Saturday. Game time will be at 4 p.m.