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Juniata men's hoops sinks Merchant Marine to earn Landmark tourney slot

(Posted February 17, 2008)

KINGS POINT, N.Y. -- Juniata College senior Brian Cannon (Fallston, Md./Fallston) scored 31 points, two off his career-high, to lead the Eagle men's basketball team to a 76-60 rout of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, Sunday afternoon in Kings Point, N.Y. The win allowed the Eagles (16-8, 9-4 Landmark) to lock-up a berth in the four-team Landmark Conference tournament, which opens on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Juniata's seeding for the tournament is far from certain; both Moravian College and Susquehanna University lost games on Sunday afternoon, putting Juniata, Susquehanna, and Moravian in a three-way tie for first place in the conference. The University of Scranton is just one game back with an 8-5 record. All four teams have clinched berths in the tournament. The Eagles can finish anywhere from a first seed through fourth seed; a Juniata victory and a Scranton win over Moravian would be required for the Eagles to claim the regular season title and top seeding for the tournament. Juniata took command of the game midway through the first half, thanks to a 14-2 run lasting nearly seven minutes. Justin Baker (Nanty Glo, Pa./Bishop Carroll) launched the run with a layup at the 13:58 mark of the opening frame, with Brent Ferko (Sarver, Pa./Freeport) adding a three-pointer and a layup to fuel the surge. Merchant Marine (11-13, 6-7 Landmark) cut the Juniata lead down to four points on several occasions during the second half, the last coming with just 5:21 remaining following a jumper by the Mariners' Tom Izzo. A Ferko trey barely a minute later quickly staked the Eagle back at seven points. After a foul shot by Merchant Marine's Quincy Doffeny, a traditional three-point play by Eric Mueseler (Latrobe, Pa./Latrobe) extended the Juniata lead to 64-55 with just 3:08 on the clock. Juniata put the finishing touches on its win by scoring the last six points of the game over the final minute and 18 seconds. Ferko finished the game with 15 points, with five assists. Cannon logged his fifth double-double of the season with 11 rebounds to go with his 31 points. Matt Oaks led the Mariners offensively with 14 points, while Rich Roach tallied nine points. Juniata closes out its regular season next Saturday, Feb. 23, when it faces Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. -30-

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