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Juniata Men Suffer Tough Loss to DII Foe

(Posted December 7, 2005)

Brian Cannon was one of five players in double figures for Juniata as he led the Eagles with 14 points along with eight rebounds.

Indiana (Pa.) 81, Juniata 79

Huntingdon, Pa. The Juniata College men?s basketball team did just about everything right for the first 37 of minutes in its non-conference outing against Indiana University (Pa.) Wednesday night, but the final three minutes were enough to prevent the Eagles upset bid as an IUP three pointer with nine seconds remaining was the difference in the 81-79 set-back for Juniata. The Eagles are now 5-4 on the year, while the Indians improved to 5-1.

Juniata did not trail in the second half until the final minute. Leading 79-78 with 1:15 remaining, Juniata missed the front end of a one-and-one, and then suffered a turnover with 19 seconds on the clock, giving the visitors one shot at the win. Marc Williams penetrated into the Juniata defense and found Eddie Peterson who knocked down the three to put the visitors on top. Juniata had a last look at a three, but Nick Hager?s (Franklin/Franklin) effort from 26 feet fell short.

Peterson finished with 42 points on 15-of-23 shooting, including 7-of-11 from long range.

The IUP comeback marred what was a remarkable all-around effort from Juniata, particularly in the second half. Leading by four at halftime, the Eagles slowly but surely extended the lead until the home team was on top 66-50 with 9:16 left in the game. Juniata took the 16-point lead on a Kyle Opitz (Pine-Richland/Gibsonia) three, and forced an IUP timeout.

Optiz was one of five Juniata players in double figures, and was also part of an outstanding effort from the Eagles bench. Juniata got 25 points from its reserves in the game, including 10 apiece from Opitz and Brent Ferko (Freeport/Sarver). The Eagles continued to extend the lead, getting a basket from Chris Jasiota (Oil City/Oil City) and a Travis Boyd (Juniata Valley/Baree) to take an 18-point advantage with 6:01 remaining.

But from that point the Eagles offense slowed down primarily from turnovers and missed free throws. Meanwhile IUP was riding Peterson, who scored 24 of his 42 points in the second half, as well as crashing the offensive boards. The visitors outscored Juniata 23-3 over the final six minutes, with Juniata?s only points coming off a Jasiota basket and a free throw from Brian Cannon (Fallston/Fallston, Md.). Peterson and Damar Ruffin scored all of Indiana?s final 31 points to set the stage in the final minute.

Jasiota and Cannon each finished with a team-high 14 points, with Cannon also leading the squad with eight rebounds. Hager finished with 11 in the game as the fifth Juniata player in double figures. Boyd paced the team with six assists, while adding a three blocks and a steal.

Along with Peterson?s 42, Ruffin added 21 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. No other IUP player scored more than five points. Williams led the team with four assists.

Juniata returns to action on Monday when they host York College, a team currently ranked sixth in Division III.

INDIANA (81): Baker 2 0-1 4, Williams 2 0-2 4, Peterson 15 5-6 42, Warawko 2 1-4 5, Ruffin 8 5-8 21, Anthony 0 0-0 0, Mazza 2 0-0 5, Shaw 0 0-0 0, Gartner 0 0-0 0. Totals ? 31 11-21 81.

JUNIATA (79): Jasiota 7 0-2 14, Boyd 2 0-0 5, McConnell 2 2-3 6, Cannon 6 1-2 14, Hager 3 2-2 11, Byer 0 0-0 0, Ferko 5 0-1 10, Opitz 4 0-2 10, Chamberlain 2 0-0 5, Holloway 1 2-2 4. Totals ? 32 7-14 79.

Halftime: Juniata 44-40. 3-point goals: Indiana 8 (Peterson 7, Mazza); Juniata 8 (Hager 3, Opitz 2, Boyd, Cannon, Chamberlain). Assists: Indiana 10 (Williams 4); Juniata 15 (Boyd 6). Rebounds: Indiana 40 (Ruffin 11); Juniata 37 (Cannon 8).


Records: Juniata (5-4); Indiana (5-1).

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