ALTOONA, Pa.- The Juniata men's basketball team had a last-second look at a game-winning three but couldn't get it to fall as they lost at Penn State Altoona, 68-66, Saturday afternoon.
Marcus Hall (York, Pa. / Trinity) scored the first bucket of the season for Juniata on a jumper shot which made it 3-2 Lions a minute and a half into the contest. PSU-Altoona held Juniata scoreless over the next several minutes until three foul shots from Cameron Keck (Waynesboro, Pa. / Waynesboro) just over five minutes in made it 9-5 Lions.
Trailing 25-17 with 7:30 to go in the half John Kelly (Philadelphia, Pa. / Roman Catholic High School) off a pass from Jake Holsopple (Duncansville, Pa. / Hollidaysburg) to cut the deficit to six. Later, a Hall layup brought Juniata within four, 32-28, but the Lions scored five of the last seven points of the half as they led 37-30 at halftime.
Hall had 12 points at the half while Kelly was second on the team with six points.
Penn State led by nine in the first minute before a Hall layup off a Kohl Bernarding (Cochranton, Pa. / Cochranton H.S.) assist, a three by Nathan Markey (York, Pa. / Central York) of an assist by Kelly and another triple by Nate DaCanal (Johnsonburg, Pa. / Elk County Catholic) off a Hall pass brought the Eagles within one 42-41. The Lions pushed their lead back to five before a Charles Somerville III (Hagerstown, Md. / St. Maria Goretti H.S.) offensive rebound ended with another DaCanal three to pull JC back within two. A Holsopple layup off a feed from Markey knotted things at 46 before a Keck foul shot gave Juniata their first lead. Bernarding found Keck for a layup which made it 49-46 with 12:40 to go in the game.
The Lions pulled even with a three, and the teams remained tied at 49 for two and half minutes until a Kelly layup off another Bernarding assist put the Eagles back on top.
The teams traded buckets down the stretch, with a Holsopple triple off a pass from keck put Juniata up two, 62-60, but the Lions nailed a three of their own with just over three minutes to go in the contest.
A layup and a foul shot combined with some Eagle misses had the Lions ahead 66-62 with 27 seconds to go in the contest. Marcus Hall laid the ball in just inside 20 seconds as Juniata called a timeout. The Eagles fouled, and Penn-State Altoona made both free throws. Keck was fouled with seven seconds to go and made the pair to pull JC within two. The Eagles fouled, and the hosts missed both. Holsopple snagged the rebound and threw it ahead to Keck who dribbled up the left-wing. DaCanal took a hand-off while going towards the middle of the floor. He fired a one-legged running three as the buzzer sounded the bounced off the back rim.
Juniata will host Comfort Inn Tip-Off Classic this Friday and will face Wilson at 7:00.