Huntingdon, Pa.- The Juniata men's basketball team advanced to the Juniata Holiday Tournament Championship game with a hard-fought 92-69 win over Penn State Abington, Thursday evening in Memorial Gymnasium.
Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) went for a career-high 27 points, shooting a perfect 9-9 from the field, including 2-2 from three. He added five assists and five rebounds. Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, Pa./Bishop Carroll) had 20 points and nine rebounds, Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa./Bishop Carroll) tallied 16 points with four assists while Damon Rickens (Altoona, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle) had nine points and four assists. Paul Martello (York, Pa./York Catholic) added 10 points off the bench.
The opening five minutes of the game were tightly contested, as PSU-Abington pulled ahead early, but the Eagles clawed back and took the lead at 11-10 on a Wil Peralta (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) jumper from the left elbow. The teams traded makes, with a PSU-Abington three tying the score at 18 with 10 minutes to go in the half.
JC took over from there, closing the half on a 24-14 run as they went into the locker room with a 42-28 advantage. Lee provided 13 of the 24, including his first three-pointer of the year.
The Eagles continued to pull away as a Rickens drilled a wide-open three from the left corner after some great ball movement, making it 56-39 four minutes into the second frame. It looked like JC would cruise from there, but PSU-Abington had other ideas. With just over eight minutes to play, the Lions stole the ball and scored in transition to pull within eight at 69-61.
Over the next five minutes, Brewer did a bit of everything to help put the Lions away. He went 5-6 of at the line, grabbed two rebounds in traffic, found Martinazzi for three, scored inside and then set Martello for three as the Eagles lead ballooned back to 20. Martello was fouled on the three and converted the foul shot as Juniata coasted to victory over the final four minutes.
JC shot 61.1% from the floor and 47.6% from three.
The Eagles will host Manhattanville in the championship game, tomorrow at 4:00.