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Strong Defense Helps Men Claim Hoops Win

(Posted January 27, 2007)

Kyle Opitz scored a career-high 21 points as Juniata picked up a key conference victory over Moravian.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - Junior guard Kyle Opitz (Pine-Richland/Gibsonia) missed just one shot from the field en route to scoring a career-high 21 points to help the Juniata College men\'s basketball team claim a 70-50 victory over visiting Moravian College in Commonwealth Conference action Saturday night. Opitz finished the game 8-of-9 from the field and 5-of-6 from beyond the three-point line to help Juniata (10-9, 4-4 Commonwealth) reach the 10-victory plateau for the fifth time in six years under Head Coach Greg Curley. Opitz\' shooting drove the offense, it was the Eagles\' defense that controlled the game as Juniata limited Moravian to just 32 percent shooting from the floor and forced 22 turnovers. Moravian jumped in front early racing out to a six-point advantage after a three from Eric Whitman with 12:39 remaining on the first-half clock. But Juniata\'s defense clamped down as the Eagles held Moravian to just five points over the final 11 minutes of the half to turn a three-point deficit into a 13-point lead going into halftime. Moravian cut the lead to nine with 13:50 remaining in the game, but Opitz followed with one of his five triples to 13-2 run over the next five minutes that put Juniata on top by 20 with 8:20 left in the game. The Eagles would lead by as many as 27 points in the second half as they shot 50 percent from the field and 66 percent from long range over the final 20 minutes. Steve Wenderfer scored 14 points to lead Moravian (10-9, 3-5 Commonwealth) which was held to just 16 field goals in the contest. The 50 points are the fewest Juniata has allowed since a 63-45 win at Lebanon Valley College during the 2003-04 season. Opitz topped 20 points for the first time in his career, and also established a new career high with his five three pointers. Chamberlain was also in double figures for Juniata with 12 points, while Brent Ferko chipped in 10. Chris Jasiota (Oil City/Oil City) grabbed 13 rebounds to lead all players, and Nick Hager (Franklin/Franklin) dished out three assists to lead the team. Wenderfer also grabbed a team-high six rebounds to go with his team-high 14 points. Ryan Miller was also in double figures for Moravian with 10. Juniata returns to action on Tuesday as the Eagles welcome Messiah College for a Commonwealth match-up. ###

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