(Posted November 29, 2006)

GRANTHAM, Pa. - The Juniata College men\'s basketball team put together an efficient offensive game in its conference opener against Messiah College Wednesday evening, but the Falcons offense was just a little bit better as the Eagles dropped an 81-61 decision in Commonwealth action. Both teams are now 3-1 on the season, and the game was the first conference tilt for each team. Brian Cannon (Fallston/Fallston, Md.) scored 17 points and Juniata shot 48 percent from the field in the game, but the Eagles could not overcome a torrid shooting display from Messiah. The home team shot 62 percent in the game including 15-23 from three-point range to propel them to the victory. Juniata was within striking range at the half as the Eagles trailed by just seven at halftime as Juniata\'s defense forced the Falcons into 10 first-half turnovers to stay within striking distance. Cannon had 10 of his 17 in the first period and the Eagles knocked down 3-4 from long range in the first 20 minutes and seemed to be in position to claim a road win. But Messiah answered with a 46-point second-half as the Falcons missed just 10 shots from the field over the final 20 minutes including 8-13 from long range. Jared Yoder had 18 of his game-high 27 points in the second half for Messiah. Juniata tried to keep the game within reach as the team scored 33 points in the final 20 minutes but were unable to cut into the lead. Cannon finished 6-10 from the field in the game and was 4-5 from the foul line for his 17 points. Nick Hager (Franklin/Franklin) chipped in with nine, and Chris Jasiota (Oil City/Oil City) added eight for the Eagles. Kyle Opitz (Pine-Richland/Gibsonia) paced Juniata with three assists, while Jasiota and Brent Ferko (Freeport/Sarver) each grabbed three rebounds. Yoder finished with 27 points on 12-14 shooting in the game and also grabbed 10 rebounds. Darryl Brown knocked down four three pointers and had 16 points for the Falcons and Jonathan Boyd and Matt Henninger added 12 and 10 respectively. Jason Miller, Drew Sneeringer and Ryan Witmer all had four assists for Messiah. Juniata will play its second conference game of the season on Saturday when the Eagles host Widener University at 7 p.m. ###

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