(Posted February 17, 2007)

READING, Pa. - The Juniata College men\'s basketball team secured the second spot in the Commonwealth Conference standings and ended one of the finest regular season\'s in the program\'s history by claiming an 82-70 victory over Albright College Saturday afternoon in Reading. By finishing second in the conference, Juniata (15-10, 9-5 Commonwealth) earned the right to host a Commonwealth semifinal. The second-seed Eagles will host third seed Susquehanna University on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Huntingdon. The postseason game will be the first for the men\'s basketball program since the 1988-89 season. Juniata\'s 15 victories also marks the third-highest single-season total in program history. The Eagles had five players score in double figures, led by senior Nick Hager (Franklin/Franklin) who posted a season-high 18 points by shooting 5-of-8 from three-point range. Albert Medoro scored 12 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds for Albright (10-14, 5-9 Commonwealth) which shot 42 percent for the game but was unable to slow down Juniata\'s offense down the stretch in the second half. After Albright jumped in front by three in the opening minutes after a triple from Greg Conroy, Juniata took the lead on a Brent Ferko (Freeport/Sarver) hoop with 15:29 remaining in the first half, and did not relinquish it the remainder of the game. The Eagles led by as many as 17 in the early stages of the second half as the Blued and Gold outscored the Lions 15-2 in a four minute stretch in the opening minutes of the second half. Chris Jasiota (Oil City/Oil City) had six of his 15 points during the run. Albright eventually brought the lead back within three before Hager answered with a three from Juniata, and after Greg Conroy scored for the Lions to bring Albright within four, Kyle Opitz (Pine-Richland/Gibsonia) scored five-straight points to push the lead to nine. Albright would get no closer than seven points the rest of the way. Juniata shot 60 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes and finished the game shooting slightly better than 51 percent. The Eagles were also 4-for-7 from three-point distance in the second half. Hager and Jasiota each shot 60 percent from the field to score their 18 and 15 points respectively. Ferko and Brian Cannon (Fallston/Fallston, Md.) each had 13 for Juniata with Ferko adding a team-high nine boards. Opitz was also in double figures with 12 points and Aaron Chamberlain (Tussey Mountain/Wood) led all players with six assists. Medoro was 5-for-12 from the field on the game to lead the Lions in scoring. Matt Kieselowsky scored 11 points and paced the Lions with five assists, while Conroy was also in double figures with 10 points. ###

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