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Basketball Men Drop Conference Opener

(Posted December 1, 2004)

Travis Boyd scored a season-high 19 points as he went 5-of-9 from three-point land in Juniata\'s conference opener against Messiah.

Messiah 95, Juniata 79

Huntingdon, Pa. ? The Juniata College men?s basketball team got its highest scoring effort of the season but it wasn?t enough to overcome a 52-point second half from visiting Messiah College as the Eagles dropped a 95-79 decision to the Falcons in a Commonwealth Conference game in Huntingdon Wednesday night. Juniata is now 1-4 on the year and 0-1 in conference play, while Messiah remained unbeaten with a 5-0 mark overall and 1-0 in the Commonwealth.

Travis Boyd (Juniata Valley/Barree) scored a season-high 19 points for Juniata, including back-to-back threes early in the second half that turned a 10-point Messiah lead into a four point advantage.

The Falcons would push the lead back to nine before baskets from Jeff Byer (Conemaugh Twp./Davidsville) and Chris Jasiota (Oil City/Oil City) cut the lead back to five with 15:21 remaining in the game. Jasiota then converted six of Juniata?s next eight points to keep the Eagles in the game?his last bucket making the lead 61-56 Messiah at the 13:11 mark.

From that point Messiah got hot from the field as the Falcons put together a 17-3 run over the next six minutes to put the game out of reach. Jared Yoder had seven points during the run which left the score at 78-59 with 7:37 remaining. Another three from Boyd pulled Juniata within 12 at the 3:42 mark, but the Eagles got no closer the rest of the way.

Juniata led by as many as four points in the first half, with a basket from Neil Holloway (Tussey Mountain/Saxton) giving the Eagles an early 8-4 edge. Messiah would hold a small edge for most of the remainder of the half, before Juniata jumped back in front with five-straight points from Boyd. But the Falcons closed the half with an 11-3 run over the final 2:30 of the half to take a 43-36 lead into halftime.

Jasiota joined Boyd in double figures for Juniata as he scored 16 points and grabbed a team-best seven rebounds. Aaron Chamberlain (Tussey Mountain/Wood) scored 12 points and dished out a career-high eight assists. Holloway added three blocks and three steals.

Messiah?s Zach Wiernicki led all players with 27 points and nine rebounds in the contest. Quinn McCullough added 22 points for the Falcons. Dave Carter finished with eight assists for the visitors and had five steals and helped direct the Messiah offense to 55-percent shooting for the game.

Juniata will look to earn its first conference victory on Saturday when the Eagles play at Widener University.

JUNIATA (79): Jasiota 8 0-2 16, Opitz 1 4-5 6, Chamberlain 4 3-3 12, Boyd 6 2-4 19, Holloway 2 0-0 4, Byer 3 0-0 6, Ferko 0 0-0 0, LaPrad 0 0-0 0, Price 1 0-0 3, McConnell 2 3-4 7, Bull 0 0-0 0, Cannon 1 4-6 6. Totals ? 28 16-24 79

MESSIAH (95): Akinnagbe 2 0-2 5, McCullough 7 5-8 22, Carter 3 2-2 9, Wiernicki 12 3-5 27, King 2 1-2 7, Tiplady 0 4-4 4, Boyd 0 0-0 0, Skowron 0 0-0 0, Henninger 2 2-2 6, Yoder 6 2-3 15. Totals ? 35 19-28 95

Halftime: Messiah 43-36. 3-point goals: Juniata 7 (Boyd 5, Chamberlain, Price); Messiah 6 (McCullough 3, Akinnagbe, Carter, Yoder). Assists: Juniata 16 (Chamberlain 8); Messiah 14 (Carter 8). Rebounds: Juniata 27 (Jasiota 7); Messiah 34 (Wiernicki 9).

Records: Juniata (1-4); Messiah (5-0)

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.