Eagles Clamp Down on Royals in Second Half, Win Conference Opener

Seth Brewer sets up the offense against Scranton.
Seth Brewer sets up the offense against Scranton.

Huntingdon, Pa.- The Juniata College men's basketball team won, 70-44, over The University of Scranton, Saturday afternoon in Memorial Gymnasium in their Landmark Conference opener.

Marcus Lee (Carolltown, Pa./Bishop Carroll) had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa./Bishop Carroll) had 15 points while Damon Rickens (Altoona, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle) had 12 points and seven rebounds. Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) had six points, six assists and nine rebounds. Paul Martello (York, Pa./York Catholic) added seven points off the bench.

It was a defensive battle early, as neither team scored for the first three minutes of the game.

Martello tossed it to Jake Holsopple (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) in the post, cut to the hoop, got the ball back and finished through contact. He swished the foul shot to make it 6-5 with 11:53 left in the first half. 

JC went on a 12-6 run over the next three minutes as they pushed their lead to seven at 18-11 on a Martinazzi jumper. The Royals did not go away, and with 3:46 to go in the half, pulled within two at 24-22 on a free throw. The teams traded buckets and with 2:00 minutes left, JC led 28-26.

Lee stole a pass out of the air and threw it ahead to Martello. Martello whipped it to Marcus Hall (York, Pa./Trinity) who laid it in for two. On the next offensive possession, Lee finished inside. Scranton hit a free throw in the final seconds of the half as Juniata led at halftime, 32-27.

Brewer set Lee up for two mid-range jumpers to open the second while Scranton made a pair of foul shots as the Eagles led 36-29 early in the second half. Juniata started to look to pull away, with Wil Peralta (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) finding Lee underneath from the high post as Lee finished strong to push the Eagle lead to 12 at 43-31.

Scranton clawed their way back, as another foul shot got them within five at 47-42 with 9:16 remaining in the game.

The Eagles closed the game on a 23-2 run as they locked the Royals down.

Rickens drove from the right baseline and threw a one-handed pass to Martinazzi who was all alone on the left wing. He drilled the three to make it 51-42. On the next possession, Rickens drilled a three with a hand in his face off a pass from Brewer. After forcing another Scranton miss, Lee spun and finished with his left hand while falling to make it 56-42.

A Hall layup off a pass from Nate DaCanal (Johnsonburg, Pa./Elk County Catholic) with under a minute left closed the scoring at 70-44.

Juniata shot 26-52 from the field (50.0%) to Scranton's 12-45 (26.7%), held a 41-27 edge in rebounding and had a 30-8 advantage in points in the paint.

JC's 26-point margin of victory is the most points they have ever beat The University of Scranton by.

The Eagles will play at Carnegie Mellon, Monday at 7:30.