By: Laura Chapman
Assistant Sports Information Director
firstname.lastname@example.org • juniatasports.net
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a hard-fought double-overtime battle, the Juniata College men's basketball team fell to Landmark Conference No. 1 Catholic University of America Wednesday night. The Eagles drop to 12-8 on the year, 3-6 in league play, with five games remaining in the regular season.
With four minutes gone in the defensive battle, senior Lucas Mellott (Warfordsburg, Pa./Southern Fulton) tied the game at 5-5. Down four at 14-10, sophomore Justin Fleming (Doswell, Va./Benedictine College Prep.) took the foul on the way to the hoop and then sunk both of his free throws. He followed it up with a steal on the Catholic inbound and a bucket to tie the game at 14-14 with just under 11 minutes to play in the first half. Fleming was the most offensively productive bench player of the night for either team, notching 13 points, three rebounds, two assist, and a steal.
Catholic picked up its three-point shooting and Juniata responded with senior Brian Scholly (State College, Pa./State College) from behind the arc to put the score at 23-19 Catholic. Scholly finished the night with a game-high 18 points and one shy of a double-double with nine rebounds. Working in the paint, Mellott pulled Juniata within two and senior Jeremy Hays (McMechen, W. Va./John Marshall) tied the game at 23-23 with just over 3:30 to play.
In the closing two minutes of the first half, senior Kevin Stapleton (Indiana, Pa./Indiana) nailed a trey, Mellott sunk a jumper, and Scholly hit a buzzer beater trey to put the Eagles on top 33-27 heading into halftime. After five furious minutes of determined defense from the Eagles, Juniata held onto a 38-32 lead thanks to the strong jump shooting of Stapleton.
The guard's hot hand continued as he hit nine of the Eagles next 10 baskets for a 10-point lead at 49-39, finishing the night with 17 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Catholic pulled within one at 51-50 with 5:52 to play. After working the ball around the arc and into Fleming for the layup, the Juniata defense made a nice stop on Catholic and answered with a trey from Scholly for the 56-50 advantage. Catholic battled back to within two at 59-57 with 44 second remaining. The Cardinals made two shots from the foul to send the game into overtime.
Extra time was a story of foul shot percentage with Catholic taking the lead 64-63 on a converted three-point play from the free throw line. On the night the Cardinals shot 87% from the foul line to Juniata's 68%. With just 10 seconds left sophomore Kyle Koehler (Chester Springs, Pa./Devon Prep.) nailed a three to tie the game at 68-68 for a second period of extra basketball. Catholic hit back-to-back treys for the 74-68 and the final push by the Cardinals downed the Eagles 82-73.
Juniata stays on the road for a matchup with Moravian College before returning home Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. to host Goucher College.
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