TOWSON, Md.- The Juniata men's basketball team recaptured the lead midway through the second half and went on to win, 62-49, Wednesday evening at the Decker Student Recreation Center.
Goucher scored the first four points of the game via a put back and two foul shots before Andrew Bithell (Saxton, Pa. / Tussey Mountain HS) scored inside.
Juniata trailed 8-2 in the first five minutes and called timeout. Paul Martello (York, Pa. / York Catholic) found Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa. / Bishop Carroll) for three but the Gophers countered with five straight points to make it 13-5. Caidon Owen (Glenelg, Md. / Glenelg Country School) stole the ball and eventually found Martello for three to cut the deficit back to five. The two reversed rolls as Martello assisted an Owen three to pull the Eagles within two. Owen found Jake Holsopple (Duncansville, Pa. / Hollidaysburg) for a layup to tie the game up with six minutes to go in the half.
The Gophers scored the next four points before Martello scored inside off a Martinazzi feed, and Bithell kicked the ball to Owen for another three to give the Eagles the lead at 18-17. Goucher closed the half by scoring the final four points as they led 21-18 heading into the locker room.
A Bithell foul shot and a Nicholas Albert (Herndon, Va. / Westfield High) layup pulled Juniata within two in the first two and half minutes of the second half. Goucher pushed the lead back to four, 30-26, before back to back Martinazzi layups tied things at 30. The Martinazzi run continued as he converted a midrange jumper and then a triple to make it 35-30.
Goucher tied things at 36-36 with 10 and half minutes to go in the game as the teams continued to exchange scoring flurries. Nate DaCanal (Johnsonburg, Pa. / Elk County Catholic) nailed a jumper, but the Gophers countered with four straight points to retake the lead. A Bithell layup off a pass from Martello tied things at 40. Holsopple scored inside, found Martello for a three before sinking a three of his own to make it 48-40 Eagles. Martello stole the ball and hit Martinazzi for a quick score as the Eagles let by 10 with a little under six minutes to go.
The Gophers got within seven with about three minutes to go, but Martinazzi was fouled shooting a three and he made all three free throws. Juniata's lead never shrunk past nine as the Eagles closed the game out.
The Juniata offense found their way in the second half as they shot 53.6% from the floor in the second half. It was another strong night defensively for the Eagles as they held Goucher to 32.1% shooting from the floor and 15.4% shooting from three.
The Eagles will host Scranton, Saturday at 4:00.