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Hot Shooting Propels Hoops Men To Big Win

(Posted February 15, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - For the first time in more than a decade the Juniata College men\'s basketball team will be participating in the postseason as the Eagles rode a hot shooting night to an 82-67 win over visiting Susquehanna University in Commonwealth Conference action Thursday night. With the victory Juniata (14-10, 8-5 Commonwealth) clinched a berth in the four-team Commonwealth postseason for the first time since the 1988-89 season. Susquehanna (15-9, 7-6 Commonwealth) is also still alive for a postseason berth and will earn a spot with a victory in its season finale on Saturday. The 14 victories also is a new single-season high for wins in the six seasons under Head Coach Greg Curley. Aaron Chamberlain (Tussey Mountain/Wood), one of Juniata\'s four seniors, scored a season-high 23 points as he drilled seven three pointers in the contest. Juniata finished the game shooting a blistering 52 percent (13-25) from three-point range, and also shot 50 percent from the field for the game. Kevin Cuff finished with a team-high 19 points for the Crusaders who shot a solid 42 percent from the field on the game, but were just 5-of-19 from three-point distance. Chamberlain\'s accuracy from deep helped Juniata put the game away midway through the second half. Juniata led by 10 at halftime, but Susquehanna scored 10 of the first 13 points of the second half to pull within a point at 40-39 with 17:45 remaining in the game. A hoop from Chris Jasiota (Oil City/Oil City) stopped the run and a three-point play from Kyle Opitz (Pine-Richland/Gibsonia) pushed the lead back to nine. Joel Patch answered for the Crusaders before Chamberlain knocked down consecutive threes to extend the lead to 10. The Crusaders battled back to within seven points after a pair of Marcus Burke free throws with 10:08 showing on the clock. The lead was still at nine with 8:49 left after a Susquehanna hoop from Todd DeNapoli but a 9-0 Juniata run featuring two Chamberlain threes brought the lead to 17 with 7:00 left. Susquehanna got no closer than 11 the rest of the way. Juniata never trailed in the game and led by as many as 14 points in the first half. Juniata was 7-of-14 from long range in the first stanza with Chamberlain and Nick Hager (Franklin/Franklin) each drilling a pair of triples. The seven three pointers were a career high for Chamberlain who also led Juniata with five assists. Brian Cannon scored 18 points off the bench for Juniata and added five rebounds. Opitz finished with 12 points and Brent Ferko (Freeport/Sarver) added 10. Hager grabbed a team-high nine rebounds in the contest. Cuff was 5-of-9 from the field for Susquehanna and 8-of-9 from the foul line. Patch recorded a double with 15 points and 10 rebounds while Brad Okonak finished with 13 points. Andy Gaebel had a team-high four assists. Juniata will finish out the regular season on Saturday when they at conference foe Albright. A win would give the Eagles the second seed and the right to host a conference semifinal game. ###

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