ALLENTOWN, Pa.-The Juniata men's basketball team got their first win of the season against Muhlenberg, 65-59, Friday evening at the Scotty Wood Tournament.
Cameron Keck (Waynesboro, Pa. / Waynesboro) opened the scoring for Juniata off a pass from Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa. / Bishop Carroll) a minute into the contest. Forty seconds later, Paul Martello ( York, Pa. / York Catholic) knocked a ball away. Marcus Hall(York, Pa. / Trinity ) got it and tossed it back to Martello who laid it in to make it 4-3 early on. The teams continued to feel each other out over the next few minutes, with a Noah Neville (Westminster, Md. / North Carroll) three off a pass from Martinazzi pushing the Eagle lead to five at 14-9. Martinazzi scored inside to make it 16-9 but the Mules countered with a three ball to get within four.
With four minutes to go in the first half, Martello converted two free throws to push the Juniata advantage to seven, 26-19. The Mules added a three and two free throws to pull within two, 26-24, before Keck went to the line a drilled a pair from the charity stripe to made it 28-24. The Eagles maintained that advantage till there were zeros on the clock and headed into the locker room ahead by four.
It was a sloppy half for both teams as each squad had 14 turnovers in the first half. Juniata held Muhlenberg to 25.0% percent shooting from the field in the first half.
The Mules opened the second half with a dunk and then a three a minute later as the Eagles fell behind, 29-28. Two foul shots pushed their lead to three before Martinazzi went on a 6-0 run. He scored via a layup, sunk two shots from the foul line before he drove and scored inside again to give Juniata the lead back at 36-34. Jake Holsopple (Duncansville, Pa. / Hollidaysburg) scored in the paint to make it 38-34.
A Martello triple made it 46-44 with 10 and half minutes to go in the contest, but Muhlenberg answered with a three of their own to regain the lead. Two foul shots and a tip in had the Mules up by five, 51-46. Layups from Holsopple and Martello pulled Juniata within one.
Nate DaCanal (Johnsonburg, Pa. / Elk County Catholic) set up Martello for another layup and then found Neville for a bucket in the paint as Juniata took the lead 54-51 with a little under six minutes to go in the ball game. Martello struck again and Martinazzi converted an and-one to make it 59-51. Another Martinazzi layup pushed the lead to 10.
Muhlenberg made the Eagles sweat a bit as they got within four, 63-59, with 23 seconds left but Juniata made enough foul shots down the stretch to hang on, 65-59.
Juniata shot 49.0% from the floor and held the hosts to 28.8 percent shooting.
JC will take on #11 Wittenberg, Saturday at 3:00.