The Juniata men’s basketball team pulled away down the stretch to down Catholic 67-51 Wednesday evening inside Memorial Gymnasium.
Nathan Markey threw a nice entry pass from the left wing to John Kelly who had his man sealed, and he laid it in for the easy two. The Cardinals answered with a three and a jumper before Marcus Hall stole the ball and beat everyone down the floor for a layup.
A Jake Holsopple triple off a pass from Kohl Bernarding made it 7-6 Juniata with 14 minutes remaining in the half.
Charles Somerville III denied the Cardinals an easy layup as he pinned a shot against the glass.
Following a Catholic layup, the two switched roles as Holsopple turned provider for Bernarding, who laid it in off the glass.
The Cardinals edged ahead with 12-9 with a layup with just under 10 minutes to go in the half. On the other end, Zach Engle got the ball under the hoop and whipped a pass to an open Bernarding in the right corner, and he swished a three to knot things at 12.
Catholic converted midrange jumper and another three to go up five, but the Eagles countered with a deep Markey triple from the top of the key and a Kelly layup to tie things again. A pair of Cameron Keck foul shots push the Eagles ahead by two with five minutes to go. The teams traded foul shots, with Keck’s second set making it 21-20
Following an Eagle stop, Holsopple caught the ball on the left-wing and drove left off a Kelly pick. Both defenders followed Holsopple, so he slid the ball between the defense to Kelly for an easy deuce, which made it 23-20. A Keck triple over his defender from the right-wing made it 26-20 with two minutes to go. The Cardinals tallied the final four points of the half as Juniata led by two heading to the locker room.
The Cardinals scored the opening six points of the half the Eagles went cold in the first few minutes before Bernarding found Markey for a three to bring JC within one. Holsopple followed with one of his own from the top of the key to put the Eagles back up by two.
The teams traded buckets over the following 10 minutes as the traded the lead back and forth, with the Cardinals pulling within two on a triple, 49-47, with under six minutes to play.
From that point on, the Eagles closed the door defensively as they held the Cardinals to four points the rest of way with an 18-4 run to ice the game. One of the bigger plays of the run was when Nick Rigby (Huntingdon grabbed an offensive rebound after a missed free throw, got fouled, and made both shots to increase the lead to nine.
The Eagles shot a blistering 60.0 percent (9-15) from three and also got a big boost from their bench as they outscored the Cardinal reserves, 24-10.
Juniata will host Scranton on Senior Day Saturday at 2 p.m.