(Posted February 6, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - Down three with 13.2 seconds remaining, an arrant three-pointer by senior Ryan Jones (Coudersport, Pa./Coudersport) went short as the Juniata College men's basketball team lost to the United States Merchant Marine Academy, 57-55, in the Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center, Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles went up by eight after a made layup by sophomore Dan Sekulski (Douglassville, Pa./Daniel Boone) with 10:44 left to play in the second half, but it was all Merchant Marine from there.

The Mariners went on an 11-0 run to take a 51-48 lead with 3:45 remaining and really seize control of a back and forth game. From there, the Eagles cut it a one-point game twice, but could never get back over the hump.

Freshman Alex Raymond (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Altoona) put in a layup to get within 51-50, and again made two free throws with 1:47 remaining to cut the visitors lead to 53-52, but Merchant Marine (18-4, 9-2 Landmark) stepped up the defense.

Sophomore Nate Higgins (St. Mary's, Pa./Elk County Catholic) missed a baby jumper from the baseline with 1:12 remaining, then senior Jeff Berkey (Stoystown, Pa./Shanksville-Stoneycreek) was called for an offensive charge with just under a minute to play.

After Ryan Samuel only made one of two free throws for the Mariners, Juniata (9-13, 4-7 Landmark) came back down with a chance to tie or go ahead with a three. But, as Jones was driving to the basket, a Mariner stepped in and Jones was charged with another offensive foul, which seemed to really send the air out of the Eagles' sails.

But then a traveling violation on the ensuing inbounds play by Merchant Marine gave new life to the Eagles. But Jones' three-pointer was no good, as the Mariners escaped with the two point victory.

Sophomore Matt Regan (Downingtown, Pa./Devon Prep) led the Eagles with 11 points, while Berkey added 10. Raymond and Jones finished with nine points.

That concluded the home schedule for the Eagles this season, and the home career of Jones and Berkey. The Eagles continue to battle for the fourth and final playoff spot next weekend when they travel to Moravian College and the University of Scranton.


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