HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Juniata used an 18-5 run to take the lead in the second half and The University of Scranton men's basketball team (11-6, 3-3 Landmark) dropped a close 71-65 decision to the Eagles (13-4, 6-0 Landmark) in a conference matchup on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gym in Huntingdon.
After sophomore Will McLoughlin (Glen Rock, N.J./Glen Rock) hit a layup for a 51-48 lead with 7:18 to play, the Eagles' Chase Husted sank a pair of free throws nearly a minute later to fuel the 18-5 run that resulted in a 66-56 advantage for the hosts at the 1:12 mark.
Scranton used six straight points from graduate student Jackson Danzig* (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) to slice the lead to three at 68-65 with 0:25 left, but Juniata was able to inbound the ball and sank a pair of free throws that allowed them to hold on for the win.
Juniata charged out of the gate and scored 11 of the first 13 points on Saturday and eventually led 22-8 at the halfway mark of the first half before freshman EJ Matthews-Spratley (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) hit two free throws to ignite a 20-4 run that resulted in a Danzig four point play and a 28-26 Scranton lead with 3:27 left. Scranton was able to hold the lead through the final three plus minutes and took a 34-31 advantage into the locker room.
The two teams exchanged blows for a majority of the early stages of the second half and Juniata led 46-44 before McLoughlin hit a layup and freshman Jon Spatola (Marlboro, N.J./Marlboro) buried a three for a 49-46 lead with 10:01 remaining. Following Husted's afore-mentioned free throws a few minutes later, the Eagles took the lead for good at 52-51 after Tyler Lapetina sank a jumper with 5:39 left and eventually held on despite a valiant late charge by the Royals.
Danzig led all scorers with 24 points and McLoughlin added 18 of his own on 7-of-12 shooting to go along with five rebounds. Spatola also chipped in with seven points, five boards and three assists.
Husted posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Eagles, while Lapetina and Nick Rigby came through with 15 points apiece.
Scranton was 23-of-52 (44.2%) from the floor on the day, 8-of-22 (36.4%) from deep and 11-of-16 (68.8%) from the charity stripe. The Eagles shot 45.1% (23-of-51) from the field, 22.7% (5-of-22) from long range and 90.9% (20-of-22) from the free throw line.
The Royals are back in action on Wednesday night at Moravian with tip-off set for 7 p.m.