Big Second Half Pushes Eagles Past Cardinals

Paul Martello scores two of his career-high 16 inside against Catholic.
Paul Martello scores two of his career-high 16 inside against Catholic.

Huntingdon, Pa.- The Juniata men's basketball team used a big 46-point second half to push defeat Catholic, 70-62, Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium as the teams split the season series.

Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, Pa./Bishop Carroll) had 25 points, eight rebounds and three blocks while Paul Martello (York, Pa./York Catholic) had a career-high 16 points and two steals. Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa./Bishop Carroll) had 14 points, four rebounds and five assists and Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) added six points, five rebounds and eight assists. Wil Peralta (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) tallied four points, eight rebounds and four assists. 

The Cardinals went up 5-0 in the opening minute and half, Brewer found Lee for an elbow jumper and Martinazzi for a top of the key three to tie the score early. Later, a slick bounce pass through the defense by Brewer found an open Peralta for a layup to give JC their first lead at 11-9.

The teams battled over the next several minutes, and a bucket inside gave them a 18-14 lead with just over nine minutes left. Peralta found Martello in the left corner and he drilled a three but the Cardinals scored the next five points to lead 22-17. A Cameron Keck (Waynesboro, Pa./Waynesboro) three followed by a Lee layup jumper knotted things at 22-22 with just under five minutes to go. A Lee layup put JC ahead, but Catholic countered with another three as Catholic led by one at half time.

In the opening six minutes, Catholic managed to expand their lead to six, 40-34.

The Eagles kept scoring with Catholic, but couldn't get stops to close the game as they trailed by five, 41-36, with thirteen and a half minutes left in the contest. A Martello three followed by a tough driving layup that he spun in off the glass at a tough angle tied the score at 41-41. On the ensuing Cardinal possession, Lee erased a layup with an emphatic block that got the fans on their feet. A few possessions later, Peralta finished in traffic to give JC their first lead of the half.

Ahead by four, 47-43, Martinazzi drove from the right wing into the teeth of the defense, and with everyone collapsing on him dropped it off to a wide-open Lee. Catholic came down and tried to get into their offense, but Martello got in a passing lane and beat everyone down the court for an easy two points. He then drilled a three from the right wing that caused the crowd to explode as the Cardinals called time.

Catholic got within nine with a difficult pull-up jumper, but Martinazzi found Lee for a layup and Martello drilled another three, his 13th points of the half to put the Eagles ahead 59-46. JC's lead didn't drop into single digits until the final 18 seconds, as Catholic forced a few turnovers and made the Eagles refocus for the final nine seconds. The Cardinals missed one more three in the dying seconds as the Eagles prevailed, 70-62.

The Eagles held a 36-26 edge on the glass.

Juniata returns to action, Wednesday against Susquehanna. Tipoff is at 7:00.