(Posted January 13, 2005)

Grove City 78, Juniata 68

Huntingdon, Pa. ? The Juniata College men?s basketball team needed a win Thursday night against non-conference opponent Grove City to insure the Eagles a winning record against non-conference foes for the fourth consecutive season, all of which have come under the direction of Juniata Head Coach Greg Curley. After 20 minutes of action, it looked like it would happen. But a hot shooting second half from the Wolverines (7-7) foiled the Eagles? hopes as Juniata (5-9) fell by a 78-68 score in Huntingdon Thursday evening.

Chris Jasiota (Oil City/Oil City) scored a team-high 14 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Eagles. Travis Boyd (Juniata Valley/Barree) added 13 points with six boards, while Aaron Chamberlain (Tussey Mountain/Wood) added 10. Nick Hager (Franklin/Franklin) finished with a team-high five assists for the Eagles, who will now play 11 consecutive conference games to close out the season.

Grove City was paced by J.D. Collar who netted a career-high 31 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field, and a 10-of-13 effort from the foul line. Collar was also tops on the team with six rebounds. Ryan Eller added 12 points for the Wolverines with Nick Mihalic dishing out a team-high five assists. Grove City?s 78 points was a season high.

The Eagles led to start the second half, but Grove City quickly closed the gap and took a five-point edge. Five straight points from Chamberlain two minutes later knotted the score once again, this time at 54. Grove City responded by scoring on its next three possessions to jump back in front by seven. Juniata clawed back, getting a pair of baskets from Jasiota and a three from Boyd to pull within two with 3:55 left. Collard converted a pair of free throws at the other end, and a three from Hager that would have pulled Juniata to within one rimmed out on Juniata?s next trip. Eller drilled a three on Grove City?s next trip, extending the lead to seven with 1:52 remaining. Collard closed it out by hitting six free throws and a lay-up down the stretch.

The visitors? comeback was necessary after the Eagles stormed out of the gates quickly in the first 20 minutes. With the game tied at 11 seven minutes in, Juniata a basket from Neil Holloway (Tussey Mountain/Saxton) and a three from Hager sparked a 14-1 Juniata run that put the Eagles up by 13. The lead remained in double figures until the Wolverines put together an 8-1 spurt that cut the deficit to four. Kyle Opitz (Pine Richland/Gibsonia) and Ryan Gerber exchanged threes in the final minute of the half, and the Eagles went into halftime leading 35-31.

Juniata will return to action on Saturday when the Eagles host Moravian for a Commonwealth Conference match-up.

JUNIATA (68): Byer 1 2-2 4, Chamberlain 4 0-0 10, Boyd 4 1-2 13, McConnell 2 2-2 7, Hager 3 0-0 8, Ferko 0 0-0 0, Jasiota 6 2-4 14, Opitz 1 0-0 3, Holencik 1 0-0 3, Holloway 2 0-0 4, Cannon 1 0-0 2. Totals ?25 7-10 68

GROVE CITY (78): Phillips 1 0-0 2, Lukcic 4 1-1 9, Eller 4 2-2 12, Collar 9 10-13 31, Cotherman 2 0-0 4, Mihalic 0 0-0 0, Gerber 1 0-0 3, Carr 1 3-4 5, Smith 2 0-0 6, Hallman 2 0-1 6. Totals ? 27 16-21 78

Halftime: Juniata 35-31. 3-point goals: Juniata 11 (Boyd 4, Chamberlain 2, Hager 2, McConnell, Opitz, Holencik); Grove City 8 (Collar 3, Eller 2, Smith 2, Gerber). Assists: Juniata 18 (Hager 5); Grove City 18 (Mihalic 5). Rebounds: Juniata 21 (Jasiota, Boyd 6); Grove City 38 (Collar 6).
Records: Juniata (5-9); Grove City (7-7).


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