Scranton, Pa.- The Juniata men's basketball team got a big win at Scranton, 74-71, Saturday afternoon in the John Long Center. The win means the Eagles swept the season series against Scranton, the first time since the Landmark's inception in 2007.
Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, Pa./Bishop Carroll) had 23 points and three blocks, Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) had 13 points, six assists and three rebounds while Damon Rickens (Altoona, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle) had 11 points and three rebounds. Wil Peralta (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) had eight points and three assists and Paul Martello (York, Pa./York Catholic) added eight points off the bench.
Peralta found Lee inside for a layup and then Peralta drilled a jumper as the Eagles went up 4-0 early. The teams traded buckets as the offenses looked to find their footing, and with 10 minutes left in the half the Royals had tied the score at 10-10.
Scranton began to heat up, and over the next five minutes went on a 13-6 run to take a 23-16 lead with five minutes until the break. Rickens nailed a three off a pass from Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa./Bishop Carroll) and he followed that with a layup as the Eagles pulled within two. Scranton hit a three to go up five, 31-26 with two and half minutes left.
A scoring flurry by the Eagles which included a Martinazzi jumper, Peralta scoring off a feed from Martello and Brewer making two foul shots to send JC into the locker room up 32-31 at halftime.
The Royals opened the second half on a 9-0 run as they looked to pull away in the opening few minutes.
The Eagles slowly clawed their way back, with Martello drilling a three while being fouled and sinking the proceeding foul shot to tie the score at 47-47 with 11 minutes to go.
The next nine minutes saw the teams combine for five lead changes and tie three different times, with a Royal layup tying things up at 67-67 with a minute and a half to go. Lee nailed a three off a pass from Martinazzi and Brewer made two free throws as the Eagles led with 40 seconds left. Following a timeout, the Royals converted a layup to get within three. Brewer made another pair of free throws, the Royals made two as Juniata led 74-71 with 18 seconds left.
The Royals fouled, but JC missed the front end of a one and one so Scranton got one last look to tie. Their three was off the mark and Peralta corralled the miss as Juniata held on for the win.
Juniata forced the Royals into 20 turnovers and scored 23 points off them while taking care of the ball themselves, as JC had just six.
The Eagles travel to Elizabethtown for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff on Wednesday.