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Second Half Shooting Stops Juniata Men

(Posted November 26, 2005)

Meadville, Pa. ? A strong second-half shooting performance proved to be the difference as the Juniata College men?s basketball team dropped a 78-59 decision to Albion in the opening game of the National City Holiday Tournament at Allegheny College. The Eagles are now 2-2 on the year while Albion is now 2-1.

After a back-and-forth first half, Albion pulled away with a run early in the second half. A Nick Hager (Franklin/Franklin) three pointer with 18:32 left in the second half brought Juniata within three as they were for most of the first stanza. Albion then countered with a 13-0 run over the next four minutes to take a commanding 50-34 edge with 14:52 left in the game.

The Eagles responded with eight of the next nine points including a three from Aaron Chamberlain (Tussey Mountain/Wood) and three points from Chris Jasiota (Oil City/Oil City) to climb within nine points with just over 10 minutes left. That was as close as the Eagles would get the rest of the way as Albion made 68-percent of its shots in the second frame to pull away down the stretch.

The first half was tight throughout as neither team held an advantage of more than five points. The Eagles claimed their first lead on a Brian Cannon (Fallston/Fallston, Md.) jumper with 17:33 left in the game. The sophomore then followed with a three and later hit a pair of free throws followed by a Kyle Opitz (Pine-Richland/Gibsonia) jumper to give the Eagles a five-point cushion. Albion would whittle away at the lead, tying the score for the sixth time with 1:29 left in the half. Hager gave the Eagles the lead again with a basket with 26 seconds remaining. Albion?s Zak Silas drilled a three with four seconds left in the half to send the visitors into the locker room leading by one.

Cannon led the Eagles in scoring with 18 points, marking his fourth-consecutive double-digit scoring performance. He also finished with a team-high six rebounds in the outing. Opitz and Cannon each had a team-high three assists.

Brandon Crawford was the top scorer for Albion with 21 points while also grabbing 13 rebounds. Silas finished with 17 points, while Garrett Gibbons added 14. Mike Bailey led all players with nine assists.

Juniata will be back in action in the consolation game of the tournament on Sunday afternoon.

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