HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata men's basketball team lost in heartbreaking fashion to the College of Saint Elizabeth, 60-57, Saturday afternoon in Memorial Gymnasium on the second day of the Comfort Inn Classic.
CSE got on the board first with a layup before the Eagles countered on the next trip down the floor. Inbounding under the hoop following a tipped pass, Kohl Bernarding (Cochranton, Pa. / Cochranton H.S.) found Cameron Keck (Waynesboro, Pa. / Waynesboro) all alone in the far corner and he drilled a three to get the Eagles on the board. After a stop, John Kelly (Philadelphia, Pa. / Roman Catholic High School) scored inside off a pass from Keck. CSE scored the next seven points before Marcus Hall (York, Pa. / Trinity) found Keck for a jumper in the left corner.
The visitors continued to find success offensively while Juniata struggled to keep pace as they fell behind, 17-7. Keck converted a pair of foul shots before Nick Rigby (Huntingdon, Pa. / Huntingdon H.S.) found Charles Somerville III (Hagerstown, Md. / St. Maria Goretti H.S.) for a layup on a breakaway to make it 17-11.
CSE slowly kept adding to their lead, and with five and half minutes to go CSE led 31-16.
Juniata trailed by six with two minutes left in the half before two Jake Holsopple (Duncansville, Pa. / Hollidaysburg) free throws, a Keck jumper after a steal by Nate DaCanal (Johnsonburg, Pa. / Elk County Catholic) and two free throws from Hall sent the Eagles into locker room down 10, 34-24.
Juniata scored six points of the second half as Hall found Kelly for a jumper from the elbow, Markey hit hall in the low post for a lay-in on the left side and Kelly drilled two free throws to make it 34-30 three minutes in. Hall scored inside again in traffic on the left block before Markey found Keck with a skip pass to the right corner and the junior from Waynesboro nailed the three to give Juniata their first lead since early in the game.
The teams traded buckets, with two more Kelly free throws, a DaCanal layup and two Keck foul shots putting the Eagles ahead by six with just under 11 minutes to go. Two deep three's by CSE quickly tied things back up at 44-44.
The visitors went on a 13-6 run over the next five minutes as they led, 57-50, with four minutes to go. Bernarding found Hall down low and Keck made another two free throws to get the Eagles within three. Neither team scored until Kelly snagged an offensive rebound in heavy traffic and laid it back in while being fouled with 33 seconds left in the game to pull JC within one. Following the timeout, Kelly swished the free throw to make it 57-57.
CSE dribbled the ball up the court and held for the final shot. Their point guarded handed it off at top the key to their other guard and ran to the right-wing. The point guard cut hard, back to the ball and took the handoff with his feet on the NCCA logo, 25 feet from the rim, raised, and fired. The ball found the bottom of the net as CSE walked off with a three-point win.
Juniata returns to action, Tuesday at 7:00 at Shenandoah.