The Juniata men’s basketball team lost a shootout against visiting Catholic, 88-79, Wednesday evening in Memorial Gymnasium.
Noah Neville found Paul Martello open in the corner for a three to open the scoring for Juniata a minute and half into the game. Following a Catholic bucket, Neville found the open man again as he found Jake Holsopple for a layup inside. Brandon Martinazzi found himself all alone on the right wing, took a dribble and fired a three to make it 8-2.
Both teams stayed hot over the next eight minutes, as with seven and half minutes to go Catholic held a 28-23 lead as neither team could stop the other. Martello found Neville for a baseline jumper, the Cardinals responded with another three before Martinazzi converted another triple for the Eagles off a pass from Nathan Markey. Markey found Martello on the right wing for another three to tie things at 31-31 with five minutes to go in the half.
Following a Martinazzi steal, Cameron Keck drove from the left corner into the paint and dropped it off to Marcus Hall. He laid it in to give Juniata the lead back. The teams continued to trade haymakers as Martello and Markey each made another three, with Markey adding a foul shot in the last 20 seconds to tie things at 40-40. The Cardinals scored once more to send the Eagles into the locker room down two, 42-40 at halftime.
Catholic shot a blistering 68.2 percent from the floor and 61.5% from three while Juniata shot 57.1 percent from the floor and 54.5 percent from three in the first half.
Markey opened the second half with a deep three from the right wing off a feed from Holsopple to give Juniata the lead back. The teams went back and forth, with Martinazzi scoring from the midrange and a nice high arcing reverse layup off the glass. On the next offensive possession, he blew by his defender with a right to left crossover and laid it in on the left side to pull JC within one, 50-49.
The Cardinals slowly pulled ahead, with a three and two foul shots putting them, 66-57 and Juniata called timeout. Martello drilled back to back threes, one from the left corner and the next on the right wing on the break to make it 66-63. The Cardinals slowly built their lead again to go up by nine with six minutes to go. The Eagles got within four twice, first on a three by Keck and then on a Holsopple layup over the next two minutes.
With a little over three minutes to go, Martinazzi drilled a jumper and nailed a three over the next minute to get the Eagles within four two more times, but they couldn’t close the gap as Catholic pulled away down the stretch.
Juniata shot 60.4 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from three. It was their best shooting performance this season, and the most threes they have made all year.