(Posted November 30, 2005)

Juniata 69, Susquehanna 61

Huntingdon, Pa. ? Chris Jasiota (Oil City/Oil City) scored a career-high 20 points, including several late baskets to help the Juniata College men?s basketball team hold off a late run as the Eagles claimed a 69-61 victory over Susquehanna Wednesday night. The game was the Commonwealth Conference opener for both squads and Juniata improved to 4-2 on the season, while the Crusaders fell to 1-3.

After Susquehanna rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit to tie the score at 56 with 6:34 remaining, Jasiota halted the run with a basket to put the Eagles on top. A three-point play from Matt Effler gave the Crusaders their first lead of the second half, but the Eagles answered with a three from Nick Hager (Franklin/Franklin) and then a basket and a pair of free throws from Jasiota in the final three minutes to hold on for the victory.

Jasiota was 9-of-11 from the field in the game and 2-of-2 from the foul line, while also matching a pair of teammates with a team-high six rebounds. Hager finished with 17 for Juniata on 7-of-9 shooting, including a pair of threes.

The Eagles came out of the halftime locker room on fire, and turned a five-point halftime cushion into a double-digit lead in a matter of minutes. The Eagles scored on their first five possessions of the half, including a pair of hoops from Jasiota and Tommy McConnell (Hollidaysburg/Bishop Guilfoyle) and one from Brian Cannon (Fallston/Fallston, Md.). The hot shooting continued as a jumper from Brent Ferko (Freeport/Sarver) and a Travis Boyd (Juniata Valley/Barree) three gave the Eagles a 54-38 cushion with 13:39 left in the game. Juniata shot a blistering 58 percent from the field in the game.

But the Crusaders responded by raising the defensive pressure and holding the Blue and Gold without a basket for the next six minutes to go on a 15-0 run and cut the lead to one. Sean Ulichny had a pair of buckets during the run that pulled the visitors back into the game before Juniata?s final surge put the game away.

The first half was back-and-forth as there were five ties and several lead changes. The Eagles closed the half with the momentum as threes from Boyd and Hager helped the home team close the half on an 8-3 run to take its five-point edge into halftime.

Boyd added 11 points and six rebounds for the Eagles, while McConnell filled the stat sheet with 10 points, six assists and five steals. Cannon also grabbed six boards in the game.

Effler finished with team highs in both points and rebounds for the Crusaders as he scored 13 points and added eight boards. Ulichny was also in double figures with 11.

Juniata returns to action on Saturday when the Eagles host Moravian for a conference contest.

SUSQUEHANNA (61): DeNapoli 2 0-0 5, Okonak 2 3-4 8, Smith 2 0-0 6, Ulichny 5 1-2 11, Effler 6 1-3 13, Cavallo 2 0-0 4, Marshall 0 0-0 0, Lauer 1 0-0 3, Thomas 1 0-0 2, McDevitt 3 2-2 9. Totals ? 24 7-11 61.

JUNIATA (69: Jasiota 9 2-2 20, Boyd 4 0-1 11, McConnell 5 0-0 10, Cannon 2 3-4 7, Hager 7 1-3 17, Byer 0 0-0 0, Ferko 1 0-0 2, Opitz 0 1-2 1, Chamberlain 0 0-1 0, Holloway 0 1-2 1. Totals ? 28 8-15 69.

Halftime: Juniata 37-32. 3-point goals: Susquehanna 6 (Smith 2, DeNapoli, Okonak, Lauer, McDevitt; Juniata 5 (Boyd 3, Hager 2. Assists: Susquehanna 10 (DeNapoli, Ulichny, Lauer 2); Juniata 16 (McConnell 6). Rebounds: Susquehanna 27 (Effler 8); Juniata 31 (Jasiota, Boyd, Cannon 6).

Records: Juniata (4-2); Susquehanna (1-3).


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