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Eagle Men Top 19th-Ranked Lebanon Valley on Hardwood

(Posted January 26, 2005)

Aaron Chamberlain bested his career high from a week ago as he poured in 28 points to lead Juniata to a 75-72 win over 19th-ranked Lebanon Valley.

Juniata 75, Lebanon Valley 72

Huntingdon, Pa. - Heading into the second half of its conference schedule, the Juniata College men's basketball team was looking for a spark that could ignite a run to the Commonwealth Conference postseason. That spark may have come Wednesday night as Aaron Chamberlain (Tussey Mountain/Wood) scored a career-high 28 points to help Juniata knock off 19th-ranked Lebanon Valley College in conference action in Huntingdon.

Chamberlain helped Juniata improve to 8-10 overall and 3-4 in the conference as he bested his previous high of 26 set one week ago in a conference win over Susquehanna. Lebanon Valley fell to 12-3 on the year and 4-2 in the Commonwealth.

A tight contest throughout, Juniata seemed to take control with an offensive outburst mid-way through the second half. Juniata scored on five consecutive possessions getting two jumpers from Kyle Opitz (Pine Richland/Gibsonia), threes from Steve Holencik (Moshannon Valley/Ramey) and Brian Cannon (Fallston/Fallston, Md.) and a hoop from Chris Jasiota (Oil City/Oil City) to extend a five-point lead into a 17-point cushion in the span of three minutes. The visitors quickly answered with a run of their own after a timeout, as they scored the next 10 points to pull back within seven.

The lead hovered at that margin for several minutes until Lebanon Valley's J.D. Byers scored five unanswered points, followed by a Steve Buzinski three-point play as the visitors pulled within four with 3:37 to go. From there, Juniata made its living at the foul line as the Eagles converted 10-of-14 attempts from the line to keep Lebanon Valley at bay, despite threes from Byers, Dan Hogan and Jimmy Curran in the final minute. Curran's three made the score 73-72 Juniata with five seconds remaining, but Tommy McConnell (Bishop Guilfoyle/Hollidaysburg) sank a pair of free throws with two seconds left to seal the win.

Neither team led by more than six points in the first half as the lead jockeyed back-and-forth. Juniata trailed by five with 6:19 remaining in the half before a three from Chamberlain sparked an 11-2 Juniata run that sent the Eagles into the locker room in front by four.

Chamberlain was 7-of-12 from the field on the game, and 9-of-10 from the foul line. He matched his career-high with five three pointers, hitting five triples on just seven attempts. Travis Boyd (Juniata Valley/Barree) grabbed a team-high eight rebounds for the Eagles, while McConnell paced the team with five assists. Juniata also got strong play off the bench from Neil Holloway (Tussey Mountain/Saxton) who scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds.

Byers finished with 21 points and six assists to lead three Flying Dutchmen in double figures. Buzinski added 14 points and a team-best eight rebounds, with Curran chipping in 13. Brad Stigelman also had eight rebounds for the visitors.

Juniata returns to action on Saturday when the Eagles host Widener in a conference contest.

JUNIATA (75): 0 0-0 0, Chamberlain 7 9-10 28, Boyd 1 1-3 3, McConnell 0 5-6 5, Hager 2 0-0 5, Jasiota 3 2-2 8, Opitz 2 1-2 5, Holencik 2 2-4 7, Holloway 4 1-3 9, Cannon 2 0-0 5. Totals - 23 21-30 75

LEBANON VALLEY (72): Curran 5 0-0 13, Buzinski 4 6-9 14, Byers 6 6-7 21, Hogan 3 2-2 9, Stigelman 3 2-2 8, Orr 1 0-0 2, Bretschneider 2 0-1 5, Polinsky 0 0-0 0. Totals - 24 16-21 72

Halftime: Juniata 32-28. 3-point goals: Juniata 8 (Chamberlain 5, Hager, Holencik, Cannon); Lebanon Valley 8 (Curran 3, Byers 3, Hogan, Bretschneider). Assists: Juniata 15 (McConnell 4); Lebanon Valley 14 (Byers 6). Rebounds: Juniata 30 (Boyd 8); Lebanon Valley 33 (Buzinski, Stigelman 8).
Records: Juniata (8-10); Lebanon Valley (12-3).

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