HUNTINGDON, Pa.- The Juniata and Elizabethtown men's basketball teams both found themselves locked into a defensive struggle on Wednesday night at Memorial Gym. The Eagles trailed by one point with 23 seconds left but the Blue Jays converted three of four free throws to come out with a 62-58 victory.
The loss evens JC's record at 11-11 overall and 3-8 in the Landmark. Elizabethtown is now 5-16 and 2-9 in the conference.
The Eagles started with a 7-0 run to begin the game. The lead grew to 19-5 as Juniata went on a 12-3 run to go up 19-5 with 11:38 to play in the first half. Elizabethtown responded with a 12-2 run to close the gap to 21-17 with 3:32 remaining the half. JC went cold for 9:38 as it was 0-10 from the field. The Eagles were able to outscore the Blue Jays 7-4 in the final 2:05 as they went into halftime ahead 28-21.
A pair of free throws from E-Town's Matt Lapkowicz and a layup from Lapkowicz cut the JC advantage to 28-23 in the early moments of the second half. After a layup from Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa./Bishop Carroll), Lapkowicz responded for Elizabethtown with a trey to make it 30-28 in Juniata's favor. The lead was cut to one point, 34-33, following another three-point shot from Lapkowicz.
The Blue Jays took their first lead of the night at 13:19 after a three pointer from Ethan Dubois made it 40-38. Two free throws from Paul Martello (York, Pa./York Catholic) and a Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) layup restored the lead to Juniata 42-40 with 12:32 left on the game clock.
After Lapkowicz drained yet another three-point field goal, this time with 9:49 to go, Juniata's lead stood at 47-45. The score would remain that way for 3:28 until Dubois hit a jumper at 6:21 and Josh Eden followed with a layup to give the Blue Jays a 49-47 lead with 5:44 remaining in the game.
Juniata's last lead came with 1:48 to play as Brewer converted a traditional three-point play to give the Eagles a 56-55 advantage. Eden countered with a jumper 15 seconds later to put Elizabethtown up 57-56. Martello missed a layup on the other end of the court and E-Town came down with the defensive rebound. Eden made a layup with 37 seconds left and the Elizabethtown lead was at 59-56. A Martinazzi layup with 23 ticks to go made it a one-point contest. Eden would be fouled and converted one of two free throws to put the score at 60-58 with 20 seconds left. Rickens came away with the rebound following the missed second free throw. His jumper with seven seconds left almost tied the game up. Juniata still had possession and had another chance to either tie or win but Martello turned the ball over and the Blue Jays sank two free throws to ice the game.
Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, Pa./Bishop Carroll) led the Eagles with 13 points. Rickens added 12 points and grabbed a team-best 13 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Martinazzi ended up with 10 points.
Elizabethtown outshot Juniata 44%-41.7% from the field. The Eagles did have the advantage on the glass 38-33. JC dominated in the paint 40-24.
Juniata hosts Moravian this Saturday on Senior Day. Game time following the women's game will be at 4:00 p.m.