HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata men's basketball team wrapped up their season by defeating Susquehanna on Senior Day, 80-68, Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium.
Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa. / Bishop Carroll) scored the opening bucket for the Eagles with a drive inside to put the Eagles on the board. The River Hawks responded by sinking three straight three-pointers to soar ahead 9-2 three minutes in. Martinazzi stole the ball and got an easy layup to cut the deficit to five. Another quick Susquehanna flurry made it 15-4 in the opening six minutes.
Nicholas Albert (Herndon, Va. / Westfield High) corralled an offensive rebound in traffic and laid it back in before another River Hawk triple. Nate DaCanal (Johnsonburg, Pa. / Elk County Catholic) got three the old-fashioned way as he was fouled while converting a jumper, with the free throw making 18-9. John Kelly (Philadelphia, Pa. / Roman Catholic High School) added two free throws and a layup along while another Martinazzi steal & score cut the lead to five 20-15. Marcus Hall (York, Pa. / Trinity) scored inside to make it 20-17 with nine minutes to go.
Susquehanna pulled away by as many as seven, but the Eagles didn't quit. Cameron Keck (Waynesboro, Pa. / Waynesboro) found Paul Martello (York, Pa. / York Catholic) for a layup. Caidon Owen (Glenelg, Md. / Glenelg Country School) followed with a layup of his own before Martinazzi added his own. Martinazzi knocked down a triple off a pass from Keck to tie things up at 28. The teams traded threes, with Martello knocking one in off a Martinazzi pass and Albert set up Kelly for another lay in. Susquehanna scored the final bucket of the half just under a minute as the half ended with the teams deadlocked at 33-33.
It was a fast and furious two minutes to open the second half as the teams traded buckets. JC got layups from Hall and Albert while Noah Neville (Westminster, Md. / North Carroll) scored inside and knocked down a three as the Eagles led 42-40 early. The Eagles slowly built their lead over the next few minutes, with two Martello foul shots expanding the lead to ten. After another Eagle stop, he found Owen for another three before the senior guard added another three of his own off a find from DaCanal as the Eagles led by 14, 58-44 with 12 minutes to go.
Susquehanna never got closer than eight until there was just under four minutes to go. The teams traded misses until Martinazzi drove inside to draw the defense's attention and laid the ball off to Albert for a layup to push the lead back to 10. The River Hawks got the Eagle lead to six with a minute and 15 seconds to go, but the Juniata made enough free throws down the stretch to close the game out.
The Eagles held a 44-22 advantage in points in the paint and shot 51.9% from the floor.
The Eagles close the year 10-15.