The Juniata men’s basketball team lost a hard-fought 77-68 game at Scranton Saturday afternoon in the John Long Center as the Royals pulled away late.

A pair of Marcus Hall foul shots got the Eagles on the board. Two possessions later, Brandon Martinazzi found Hall for a jumper to tie things at 4-4. Caidon Owen setup Martinazzi for a three to knot the score at 7-7 four minutes into the game.

Both teams went scoreless for nearly four minutes before the Royals broke the scoreless streak with a layup. A Paul Martello steal resulted in another Hall jumper, again off a pass from Martinazzi. John Kelly found Paul Martello for a three of his own to knot things at 12 with just under 10 minutes to go in the contest. A few minutes later, a Nate DaCanal layup off an Owen pass pulled the Eagles within three. A Jake Holsopple three tied things at 19 with five and half minutes remaining in the half.

Scranton went on an 8-0 spurt before Cameron Keck scored inside. Scranton tacked on a three followed a layup to go up by 11 before Holsopple ensnared an offensive rebound and laid it back in while being hacked. Following the made free throw the deficit was eight. Martello blocked a shot on the other end, and the Eagles turned it into points as he found Holsopple down low for a bucket to make it 32-26 with 38 seconds to go. Scranton drilled a three in the final 13 seconds as Juniata trailed 35-26 heading into the locker room.

Nicholas Albert scored on a layup off a feed from Martinazzi to open the second half for the Eagles. An Albert steal resulted in a Martinazzi layup on the other end to cut the deficit to five. The Royals scored on back to back layups and the Eagles countered with a Martello triple off a pass from Hall. A Kelly steal was turned into a transition layup by Martinazzi while he was fouled a few minutes later. His proceeding foul shot cut the Royal lead to three, 43-40, with 15 minutes to go in the game. Another Martinazzi layup, off an Owen find pulled the Eagles within one.

Scranton slowly pulled away over the few minutes, with a pair of foul shots putting them up 13 with eight minutes left on the clock. Hall scored after grabbing an offensive rebound and Albert drilled a corner three after Martello swung the ball to him. The Eagles couldn’t stop the Royal onslaught as Scranton kept coming, with a pair of foul shots putting them back up 13 with under four minutes remaining.

Hall scored on a layup to pull the Eagles within six with a minute to go, but Scranton made enough free throws down the stretch to ice the game.

Scranton had a 39-30 rebounding advantage, while the Eagles had 15-10 edge in points off turnovers. Hall’s 13 points were a career-high.

The Eagles will return to action Wednesday at home against Elizabethtown. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

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