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Juniata men\'s hoops drops Landmark opener to Susquehanna

(Posted December 1, 2007)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -Juniata College guard Kyle Opitz (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine Richland) tallied a career-high 24 points, but the Eagles still came up short as they fell to Susquehanna University, 75-71, in the Landmark Conference opener for both squads on Saturday night in Huntingdon, Pa. Juniata (3-3, 1-0 Landmark) held a 39-35 lead at the half, thanks largely to a perfect 5-of-5 effort by Opitz from three-point range. The decisive second half was a see-saw affair that saw three ties and three lead changes. The Eagles held a three-point lead as late as the 1:22 mark of the second half, following a jumper by Brian Cannon (Fallston, Md./Fallston). However a pair of back-to-back threes by Susquehanna\'s Kevin Cuff knotted the game at 69-69 with 1:12 to play, then allowed the Crusaders to take the lead with just 31 seconds on the clock. An Opitz layup with 14 seconds remaining cut the deficit to one point, 72-71, but the Crusaders\' Josh Robinson hit a pair of free throws with just under 10 seconds to play to seal the win. A last-ditch three-point attempt by Jeff Berkey (Stoystown, Pa./Shanksville-Stonycreek) was off the mark and rebounded by Cuff, who was promptly fouled by Brent Ferko (Sarver, Pa./Freeport). Cuff drained the second of his two foul shots, to close out the scoring. For Juniata, Cannon finished with 18 points, while Berkey had seven points and a team-high eight rebounds. Juniata shot .400 (28-70) from the field, but were held to just .350 (14-40) shooting in the second half. Susquehanna had three players score in double-figures, paced by Cuff\'s 22. Robinson finished with 21 points, built largely on a 10-of-12 effort at the free-throw line. Joel Patch had the lone double-double of the contest with 12 points and 11 boards. The Crusaders second-half comeback effort was fueled by a .579 (11-19) shooting clip in the second half, including a 5-of-8 mark in the second stanza from beyond the arc. Juniata returns to action on Wednesday, Dec. 5, when the Eagles travel to Latrobe, Pa., to face St. Vincent College. -30-

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