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Clutch shooting lets Juniata men's hoops outlast Catholic

(Posted February 9, 2008)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College fought back a second-half push by Catholic University, eventually posting a 69-62 win over the Cardinals in Landmark Conference men's basketball action, Saturday night at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center in Huntingdon, Pa. Juniata (13-8, 6-4 Landmark) held a 36-30 lead at the half, and expanded the advantage to eight points with a pair of foul shots by Kyle Opitz (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine Richland) to open the second half. Catholic (8-13, 2-8 Landmark) responded with a 14-4 run, eventually taking the lead on a three-pointer by Evin Yarbrough at the 14:44 mark of the half. The Cardinal lead reached five points, 49-44, on Tommy Haselden's layup with 10:23 on the clock. Garrett Bull (Red Lion, Pa./Red Lion) knotted the game at 49-49, thanks to his three-pointer followed by a layup with 9:44 on the clock. The Juniata run continued with a pair of baskets by David Thompson (Altoona, Pa./Altoona), sandwiched around an Eric Mueseler (Latrobe, Pa./Latrobe) layup, that gave Juniata a two-possession lead, 55-49, by the 7:11 mark. Catholic would again pull to within two points of Juniata with 4:07 remaining, following a Jason Banzhaf jumper and a pair of free throws by Haselden. Brent Ferko (Sarver, Pa./Freeport) answered for Juniata with a layup, followed by a Jeff Berkey (Stoystown, Pa./Shanksville-Stonycreek) foul shot and an Opitz trey, giving the Eagles a 63-55 lead with just over a minute remaining. Opitz and Bull would combine to go 6-of-6 at the free-throw line for Juniata over the final minute, allowing the Eagles to secure the win. Opitz finished the game with a game-high 19 points, including a 5-of-7 shooting performance from three-point range. Bull tallied 12 points for Juniata, while Brian Cannon (Fallston, Md./Fallston) had 11. Banzhaf led Catholic offensively with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Wes Parker logged 11 points. Juniata will conclude the home portion of its 2007-08 slate on Sunday afternoon when it hosts Goucher College at the Kennedy S+RC. Tip-off will be at approximately 4:00 p.m. -30-

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