Washington, D.C.- The Juniata men's basketball team suffered their first defeat of the season at Catholic, 82-70, Saturday afternoon at the DeFour Center.
Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa./Bishop Carroll) scored a career-high 24 points, Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) had 13 points and four assists while Wil Peralta (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) had 13 points and five rebounds. Damon Rickens (Altoona, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle) had eight points and two steals while Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, Pa./Bishop Carroll) had eight points and four rebounds.
The Cardinals scored inside, Peralta opened the scoring with a jumper for JC off a pass from Lee, Catholic scored via a triple and Martinazzi drove and finished inside as the Eagles trailed 5-4 early. Over the next few minutes, the Cardinals gained a narrow edge with another jumper making it 18-12 with 14:20 to go.
With just under five minutes to go the Cardinals lead ballooned to 15 at 34-19. A Brewer layup off a Peralta pass and a Martinazzi jumper narrowed the gap to 11. Nathan Markey (York, Pa./Central York) made a three off an assist by Paul Martello (York, Pa./York Catholic) and two Peralta free throws sandwiched around a Cardinal three made it 30-39 with just under two minutes left. The Cardinals scored on inside twice and made a three with four seconds left as JC trailed 46-31 at the half.
A Martinazzi jumper followed by back to back Rickens three's had Juniata back within nine at 48-39. The Eagles could not get closer over the next ten minutes, and with just under eight minutes left in the game, the Eagles called timeout down 15. Brewer found Martinazzi alone behind the line and Brewer nailed the three. Rickens stole a pass, took off towards the other end and laid the ball off the glass which made it 65-55.
The Eagles hung around, and with just over a minute left, Martinazzi swished a ridiculous jumper falling out of bounds over one defender and made the proceeding foul shot to get JC within eight. But Juniata could not get closer, and took their first loss of the season, 82-70.
Juniata shot 49.1% from the floor but Catholic shot a blistering 58.3% from floor, and got a career-high 33 from their leading scorer, Jay Howard.
The Eagles will face Goucher at home, Wednesday at 7:00.