Eagles Hold Off Late Tartan Run to Win 62-58

Rickens led Juniata with 16 points on the night.
Rickens led Juniata with 16 points on the night.

HUNTINGDON, Pa.- Juniata thwarted a late Carnegie Mellon run in the second half as it defeated the Tartans 62-58 on Monday night at Memorial Gymnasium. The win gives the Eagles a record of 4-2 while CMU falls to 4-3 overall.


JC got off to a slow start in the opening minutes of the first half as the Tartans led 7-2. The Eagles recovered quickly as it went on a 18-0 run to spring ahead 20-7 with 11:50 showing on the game clock.


Juniata's lead stood at 30-15 after a Marcus Lee (Carrolltown, Pa./Bishop Carroll) layup with 4:33 to go in the first half. The Tartans ended with a 10-2 spurt to cut into the Eagle advantage and JC went into the locker room ahead only by seven points, 32-25.


Carnegie Mellon was able to make it a two-possession game in the early moments of the second half. Juniata kept its lead but the Tartans would nip at their heels and not let up. CMU was able to get to within three points of tying the game at 50-47 with 6:40 left to play. A free throw from Jacob Holsopple (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg) and layups from Seth Brewer (Lancaster, Pa./Manheim Township) and Brandon Martinazzi (Cresson, Pa./Bishop Carroll) increased the JC lead to 55-47 with just under six minutes remaining.


An 8-2 CMU run cut the Eagle lead down to 57-55 with 2:23 left. It was still at two-point contest, 59-57, following a pair of free throws from Carnegie Mellon's Colin McNeil with 34 ticks showing on the clock. McNeil fouled Damon Rickens (Altoona, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle) with 13 seconds to play. Rickens sank the first of two free thowns and on the rebound off the miss of the second, the Eagles quickly fouled to send Jack Serbin on the charity stripe for the Tartans. He made his first but missed his second and the Eagle lead was now 60-58 with 11 seconds remaining. Rickens collected the rebound on the missed second attempt and a foul put Brewer on the line. He made both of his shots to make it a 62-58. Serbin airmailed a three-point attempt with time winding down and the Eagles ran out the clock to clinch the victory.


Rickens led Juniata with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Brewer added 14 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished out five assists, and came away with two steals.


Juniata shot 42.9% (24-of-56) from the floor and was good on 36.4% (4-of-11) of its three-point attempts. Carnegie Mellon had the advantage on the glass with a 41-30 lead.


"This is the first complete team effort where I thought everybody contributed," said head coach Greg Curley afterwards. "It was great to see everybody be aggressive." He went on to praise Brewer for his leadership and guard play and also Trevor Clune for his play against Serbin.


Juniata will next host the 25th annual Doc Greene Tournament this Friday and Saturday. The Eagles play the College of St. Joseph's (VT) at 7:00 while the earlier game features Case Western Reserve and Lynchburg at 5:00 p.m.