(Posted November 11, 2008)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College men's basketball team has been picked to finish fifth in the Landmark Conference in 2008-09, according to preseason voting of the league's head coaches and sports information directors.

The Eagles tallied 45 points in the poll, narrowly trailing fourth-place Catholic University of America with 48 points. The defending champions from the University of Scranton sit atop the poll with 78 points, followed by the United States Merchant Marine Academy with 69 points. Susquehanna University, last year's regular season champion, is third in the poll with 61 points.

Rounding out the poll are Goucher College (43 points) in sixth place, followed by Moravian College (35 points) and Drew University (14 points).

Juniata finished 17-11 last season with a 9-5 conference mark, reaching the Landmark Conference Tournament championship game before bowing out to Scranton, 64-57. The Eagles return a pair of starters in senior forward David Thompson (Altoona, Pa./Altoona), with 5.2 points per game and 1.7 rebounds per game, and senior center Justin Baker (Nanty Glo, Pa./Bishop Carroll) with 3.1 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per game. Reserve guard Jeff Berkey (Stoystown, Pa./Shanksville-Stonycreek) is Juniata's top returning scorer, averaging 7.9 points and 3.4 rebounds.

Juniata opens its 2008-09 season on Saturday, Nov. 15, when it travels to Altoona, Pa., to face Penn State-Altoona.

Men's Basketball Preseason Poll

1. University of Scranton (78 pts.)
2. United States Merchant Marine Academy (69 pts.)
3. Susquehanna University (61 pts.)
4. Catholic University of America (48 pts.)
5. Juniata College (45 pts.)
6. Goucher College (43 pts.)
7. Moravian College (35 pts.)
8. Drew University (14 pts.)


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