HUNTINGDON, Pa.-The Juniata men's basketball team fell to Moravian, 83-76, in a wild game that required overtime in front of a rollicking crowd Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium in a rematch of last year's Landmark Conference Championship.
The Greyhounds came out strong as in the opening 10 minutes of the contest they staked themselves a 20-10 lead. Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa. / Bishop Carroll) caught the ball at the top of the key, shook his defender with a right to left crossover, pulled up from the foul line and drilled the shot to pull the Eagles within eight. The Greyhounds drilled a three, forced a turnover and scored on a jumper to push their lead to 25-12.
Martinazzi drove from the top of key and laid it in high off the glass. After a stop, Martinazzi drilled a deep three from the left wing. Neither team scored for two minutes until Martinazzi continued his offensive surge with another tough layup inside. Nicholas Albert (Herndon, Va. / Westfield High) stole the ball and Nate DaCanal (Johnsonburg, Pa. / Elk County Catholic) scored inside to cut the deficit to four. Martinazzi hit a wild runner that rolled around the rim before falling to cut the deficit to two. A pair of Marcus Hall (York, Pa. / Trinity) foul shots tied things at 25 with under four minutes to go. The Greyhounds finally broke through after going scoreless for five minutes with back to back threes to push their lead back to six. A layup made it eight. Martinazzi rebounded his own miss and laid it in to interrupt the Moravian run. In the final 15 seconds, Martinazzi drove along the baseline and dropped it Albert who flipped it in to make it 33-29 as Juniata trailed by four at the half.
The Eagles stayed close to the Greyhounds throughout the opening minutes of the second half, with a steal and a layup by Paul Martello (York, Pa. / York Catholic) pulling the Eagles even at 45-45.
The Greyhounds edged ahead, taking a 58-52 lead with eight minutes to go. Martinazzi got the ball in the backcourt, went the length of the floor and laid it off the glass while a Moravian defender slid under him trying to take a charge. Following the free throw the Eagles trailed by three. A Cameron Keck (Waynesboro, Pa. / Waynesboro) layup off a pass from Albert cut the deficit to one. Neither team scored for four minutes until the Greyhounds rattled off four straight to go back up 62-57. A block by Albert on the defensive side culminated in a DaCanal lay in on the other. Another steal and layup by Martello again pull Juniata within one, 62-61 with 3 and half minutes to go.
The teams traded scoreless possessions before Moravian scored on a layup on the break. The Eagles responded with Hall finding Martello way behind the three-point line on the left wing for a triple to tie things at 64-64. Moravian missed a three, and Juniata called timeout after grabbing the rebound. The Eagles missed on corner three as the clock ticked under minute. Hall rejected a shot and Albert snagged the rebound before JC headed up the floor. Martinazzi got the ball with the floor spread, drove right at his man and flipped the ball in with his defender draped all over him to give Juniata a 66-64 lead. The Greyhounds called timeout, and after the break drew a foul. They converted both shots to tie things at 66-66 with 15 seconds to go.
Then Martello did this:
The Greyhounds wasted no time as they quickly got the ball inbounds and sprinted down the floor. Jimmy Murray tossed up a floater a step inside the foul line that rattled in at the buzzer, forcing overtime.
The Eagles struck first in the extra period, with Keck hitting a short jumper in the paint. Moravian came down and nailed an elbow jumper tie things again. Juniata turned the ball over on back to back possessions, with the second one proving costly as it resulted in a Greyhound three on the other end. JC missed a three and the Greyhounds scored inside to take a five-point lead, 75-70, with a little over two minutes to go. Hall scored on a difficult left-hand hook off glass to cut the deficit to three. The Eagles forced a stop on defense, as the Greyhounds lost the ball out of bounds under the hoop. But the Greyhounds stole the ensuing Juniata inbounds pass and quickly laid it in to push their lead back to five. Martinazzi came down and laid the ball in with a scoop layup with his right hand on the left side to again slice the margin to three with fifty seconds to go.
With 36 seconds to go, and 13 seconds on the shot clock the Greyhounds called timeout. The Greyhounds executed coming out of the timeout, scoring on a layup to go up by five. Keck was foul and went made both foul shots to again cut the lead to three with 24 seconds to go. JC defended tough in the backcourt before eventually fouling, and Moravian split the foul shots as they led 80-76. Juniata raced down the floor, and Martello got a look at a three from the top of the key that was just short. Moravian made foul shots the rest of the way to complete the scoring, 83-76.
Both teams shot over 50 percent from the floor, but Moravian held a decisive edge from three, making seven more while hitting 43.5%. Juniata held a 44-30 edge in points in the paint.
Albert tallied his second double-double of the season, Martello tallied a career-high five steals while Hall had a career-high three blocks.
Juniata will return to action, Wednesday at Catholic. Tipoff is at 7:00.