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Men's hoops rally falls short against Alfred in Doc Greene tourney opener

(Posted November 21, 2008)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A Juniata College rally fell just shy of the mark as the Eagle men's basketball team dropped a 71-65 loss to Alfred University, in Friday's opening round of the 2008 Doc Greene Invitational at the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center in Huntingdon, Pa.

Juniata (0-2) will face Penn State-DuBois in Saturday's consolation game at 2:00 p.m. Alfred (3-0) moves on to Saturday's 4:00 p.m. championship against St. Vincent College.

Trailing 68-61 with 6:00 showing on the clock, Juniata turned the contest into a one-possession game on a Dan Sekulski (Douglassville, Pa./Daniel Boone Area) jumper, followed by a Jeff Berkey (Stoystown, Pa./Shanksville-Stonycreek) layup with 1:16 remaining.

Berkey's sixth team foul of the half sent Alfred's Mike Stopera to the line, and he drained both shots to expand the Saxons' lead to 70-65. Dave Thompson's (Altoona, Pa./Altoona) errant three-point attempt was hauled down by Alfred's Gary Kwiecien, who was promptly fouled by Eric Mueseler (Latrobe, Pa./Latrobe). Kwiecien hit the first of two free throws, all but sealing the Alfred victory.

Alfred held a 13-point lead, 32-20, late in the first half. A 13-0 Juniata run to finish the half, fueled by a pair of baskets by Sekulski and a Mueseler three-pointer, allowed the Eagles to take a 33-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Juniata widened its lead thanks to a Berkey trey to open the second half, but the contest devolved into a see-saw affair with two ties and three lead changes. The Saxons broke a 44-44 tie at the 16-minute mark with an 8-2 run, taking a 52-46 lead on three-pointers by Jared Patt and Bobby Barry.

A Berkey three and a Thompson layup knocked the lead back down to 52-51 at the 12:13 mark of the second half, and the game would remain a two-possession contest until Carl Embury's jumper with six minutes remaining.

Mueseler led all scorers with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Sekulski finished with 12 points and Berkey chipped in with 10. Alfred had three players score in double figures, led by Barry with 19 points. Embury and Patt each finished with 15 points.

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