Second half shooting undermines Juniata’s road upset bid at Scranton
SCRANTON, Pa. – Juniata College men's basketball hung with the University of Scranton shot-for-shot, but couldn't match that feat in the second half and dropped a 59-53 decision to the Royals, Friday night in the Long Center.
Senior guard Dan Sekulski (Douglassville, Pa./Daniel Boone Area) led the Eagles with 16 points, posting a 7-of-14 shooting effort from the floor. Junior guard Alex Raymond (Hollidaysburg, Pa./State College Area) and sophomore Jeremy Hays (McMechen, W.Va./John Marshall) each charted 14 points, with Raymond netting much of that on three 3-pointers.
Hays matched Sekulski's efficiency, hitting six of his 12 shots.
Juniata tied Scranton twice during the first half, and trailed the Royals by just three points, 29-26, following a Raymond 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the frame. The Eagles shot 10-of-22 (.455) from the field in the first half, outperforming a Royal squad that was 10-of-24 (.417) from the floor.
That all changed in the second half, as Juniata's shooting dropped off to 37 percent while Scranton connected at a 59 percent rate.
The Royals slowly pulled away from the Eagles over the course of the second half, with Juniata making a late run at catching the host squad. Trailing 56-45 with 6:37 showing on the second half game clock, the Eagles scored nine unanswered points over the next five minutes. Juniata was within three of Scranton, 56-53, after Raymond's traditional three-point play at the 1:31 mark.
A Scranton turnover on the Royals' ensuing possession gave the Eagles a chance to further close the gap, but a pair of shot attempts in the final minute were off the mark. Scranton secured the win with Luke Hawk's layup and foul shot at the 19-second mark.
The Royals (15-6, 8-2 Landmark) had three players finish in double digits, led by Matt Swaback with 15 points. Hawk and Ross Danzig tallied 12 and 10 points respectively, while Tommy Morgan and Dan Hilferty each dished out four assists.
Juniata will return to the hardwood on Saturday, Feb. 4, completing the two-game Landmark swing with a 4:00 p.m. tip off at Moravian College.