(Posted January 29, 2005)

Widener 78, Juniata 54

Huntingdon, Pa. - The Juniata College men's basketball mounted one comeback against Widener University Saturday afternoon, but the Eagles couldn't put together a second as the visitors outscored Juniata 40-21 in the second half as Juniata dropped a 78-54 decision in Huntingdon. The loss snapped Juniata's three-game home conference win streak and dropped the Eagles to 8-11 overall and 3-5 in the conference. Widener improved to 11-7 on the season and 5-3 in conference play.

Juniata overcame a 15-point first-half deficit to move back within five heading into the locker room. But a 56-percent shooting effort from the visitors was too much to overcome as Juniata shot just 28-percent from the field in the final 20 minutes.

Juniata's first-half comeback was spurred by freshman Brian Cannon (Fallston/Fallson, Md.) who came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points. Steve Holencik (Moshannon Valley/Ramey) added 11 points off the bench for the Eagles. Holencik also finished with a team-high seven rebounds while Tommy McConnell (Bishop Guilfoyle/Hollidaysburg) passed out a team-best four assists.

Widener had four players in double figures, with Kris Clarkson leading the way with his 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field. Clarkson also finished with a game-high 10 rebounds and a team-best four assists, eight steals and four blocks. Matt Sheaffer added 14 for the visitors, with Essien Ford and Casey Stitzel chipping in 12 and 11 respectively. Stitzel also finished with four assists.

Widener came tearing out of the gates as a after Juniata scored the first hoop of the game, the Pioneers answered with a 20-3 run to take a 15-point edge with seven minutes gone in the game. The lead stayed in double figures for most of the half, until Juniata put together a late surge. Cannon sank a pair of threes while Nick Hager (Franklin/Franklin) also drilled a three to bring the Eagles all the way back to within three with a minute left in the half. Clarkson answered with a hoop for Widener to bring the lead to five heading into halftime.

The second half was a different story as Juniata's offense could not keep up with the Widener attack. Early baskets from McConnell and Chris Jasiota (Oil City/Oil City) kept the lead at five points early in the half. Widener answered with an 8-0 run, punctuated by a dunk from Clarkson that made the score 51-38 Widener. Back-to-back baskets from Holencik cut the deficit to nine, but Widener answered again with a 9-2 spurt that put the lead out of reach. Juniata climbed back to within two points twice, but could never get the deficit into single digits.

The Eagles will look to rebound on Wednesday night when they travel to play at conference foe Messiah.

JUNIATA (54): Byer 0 0-0 0, Chamberlain 0 0-0 0, Boyd 1 0-0 2, McConnell 3 1-2 7, Hager 1 0-0 3, Ferko 1 0-0 2, Jasiota 4 1-2 9, LaPrad 0 0-0 0, Price 0 0-0 0, Littleton 0 0-0 0, Holencik 5 0-1 11, Holloway 1 0-0 2, Bull 0 0-0 0, Cannon 7 0-0 16. Totals - 23 4-7 54

WIDENER (78): Sheaffer 6 2-2 14, Blakey 3 1-3 9, Ford 5 0-0 12, Clarkson 7 5-5 19, Stitzel 4 2-2 11, Dwebeng 1 0-0 3, Douglas 0 0-0 0, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Thomas 4 0-2 8, Tidswell 1 0-0 2, Michael 0 0-0 0. Totals - 31 10-14 78

Halftime: Widener 38-33. 3-point goals: Juniata 4 (Cannon 2, Hager, Holencik); Widener 6 (Blakey 2, Ford 2, Stitzel, Dwebeng). Assists: Juniata 10 (McConnell 4); Widener 16 (Clarkson, Stitzel 4). Rebounds: Juniata 32 (Holencik 7); Widener 28 (Clarkson 10)
Records: Juniata (8-11); Widener (11-7).


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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.