Men’s hoops falls to Scranton in Landmark championship game, 78-70
SCRANTON, Pa. – A 48 percent shooting performance from Juniata College certainly kept the Eagles in the game, but wasn't quite enough for the win as Juniata dropped a 78-70 decision to the University of Scranton, in Saturday night's Landmark Conference Men's Basketball Tournament championship game at the Long Center.
Juniata dropped to 18-9 overall with the loss, and will now await news on Monday of any post-season play. Scranton will head to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year, and for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
Senior guard Dan Sekulski (Douglassville, Pa./Daniel Boone Area) netted a game-high 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field, leading a trio of Eagles in double figures. Jeremy Hays (McMechen, W.Va./John Marshall) came off the bench to score 14, while Alex Raymond (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Altoona Area) logged 10 points and dished out four assists.
The Eagles were 29-of-60 from the field, which wasn't far off Scranton's 29-of-51 (.569) performance.
However the Royals (20-7) were 11-of-18 from 3-point range, marking the third straight contest in which Juniata has allowed 10-or-more treys. Scranton's Matt Swaback was the Royals' most prolific shooter from beyond the arc, going 4-of-7 on his way to 12 points.
Juniata was 6-of-16 on 3-point attempts, led by Brian Scholly's (State College, Pa./State College Area) 3-of-6 mark from long range.
Five Royals finished in double digits, led by Tommy Morgan's 20 points. Luke Hawk and Travis Farrell charted 18 and 15 points respectively, while Ross Danzig tallied 11.
Juniata held a slight lead late in the first half, but a Danzig trey and a Morgan layup sent the two teams into their respective locker rooms tied at 35-35.
The second half offered nine lead changes and three ties, with the Eagles holding a 60-56 lead as late as the seven-minute mark of the second half following a traditional three-point play by Hays.
Scranton responded with an 8-0 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes, capped by Hawk's layup and foul shot that left the Royals with a 64-60 advantage with 4:32 showing. Juniata cut the Scranton lead down to one possession four different times over the remainder of the game, and the Royals went 4-of-4 at the free-throw line over the final 30 seconds to protect their lead.
For the game, Scranton was 9-of-12 at the free-throw line while Juniata was 6-of-10.
The loss was Juniata's second in the Landmark Conference championship game, both at the hands of the University of Scranton. The Eagles dropped a 64-57 loss to the Royals in the 2008 Landmark title game, also played at the Long Center.