NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.- Host Westminster used a 27-7 run spanning both halves to jump ahead and defeat Juniata 71-57 on Wednesday night in the opening round of the ECAC Tournament. The Titans advance to play DeSales on Friday while the Eagles end their season with a final record of 13-13.
Things looked promising for JC early in the first half as it broke a 4-4 tie with seven straight points to go up 11-4 with 14:36 showing on the game clock. The Titans cut the Eagle lead to two points, 13-11, with 11:43 remaining in the half. Juniata's lead stood at 16-13 at 10:35 when the Eagles went on a 9-2 run and got out to their biggest lead of the night, 25-15, with 7:30 to go in the frame.
A Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) three-point shot kept the Eagle lead at 10 points, 28-18, with 5:22 left to play in the period. That would be the last time Juniata would score in the half as Westminster went on an 11-0 run to go into halftime with a 29-28 lead. JC went 0-7 during that stretch and committed four turnovers.
Westminster expanded its lead to 32-28 on the first basket of the second half. Dennis Fisher (Bellefonte, Pa/Bald Eagle Area) ended the JC scoring drought with a jump shot at 19:16. It was still a one-possession game, 35-32, at 18:42 before the Titans upped their lead to 42-32 with 16:23 to play in the contest.
The Eagles brought the score to 47-41 at the 12:56 mark but Westminster answered with a seven-point run to go up 54-41 with 11:01 left on the game clock. Juniata came back and trailed 63-57 with 2:26 left. The Eagles had a couple of chances to narrow the deficit to four points but missed layups on both occasions. A foul by Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa./Bishop Carroll) with 1:12 left put Westminster's Brandon Domenick on the line and he converted both attempts. It was part of an 8-0 run that the Titans used to put the Eagles away.
Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, Pa./Bishop Carroll) led all scorers with 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting. He also pulled down eight rebounds and came away with two steals. Trevor Clune (Meadville, Pa./Meadville Area) added 10 points, six rebounds, three steals, two assists, and two blocked shots in his final game in an Eagle uniform. Fisher chipped in eight points, two assists, and one rebound. Brewer finished with seven points, four assists, three rebounds, and one block.
Juniata shot 25-of-67 (37.3%) from the floor which was its lowest this season. Westminster was 24-of-54 (44.4%). The Titans also outrebounded the Eagles 42-36.