Juniata Still In Playoff Hunt with 61-51 Win at Moravian

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By: Laura Chapman
Assistant Sports Information Director
chapmal@juniata.edu • juniatasports.net 


BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Behind the game-high 20-point effort from senior Kevin Stapleton (Indiana, Pa./Indiana), the Juniata College men's basketball team snapped a four-game skid with a 61-51 win on the road against Moravian College. Stapleton put in his second solid performance in as many games finishing adding in six rebounds and two assists to his 20-point performance. Senior Brian Scholly (State College, Pa./State College) had a game-high nine rebounds and senior Jeremy Hays (McMechen, W. Va./John Marshall) added a third game-high for the Eagles with six assists.


"We had a really consistent defensive effort tonight," said head coach Greg Curley. "I thought we executed as well as we have this year at both ends of the court. We finished the first half and we finished the game. We've struggled with that, but I thought we really had the stuff to do that today. We need to continue that for the rest of the season."


The Eagles (13-8) opened quickly with freshman Justin Fleming (Doswell, Va./Benedictine College Prep.) making moves inside and Scholly behind the arc. Fleming came away with 10-points on the day from a strong 33-minutes on the court. Stapleton made a great move inside and put a jump shot in off the glass to stop a Greyhound charge, putting the Eagles up 12-8 with just over 10 minutes gone in the first half.


"[Kevin] is really stepping up," said Curley. "He's a guy that we need if we want to continue to be successful. I thought he did well on both ends. He defended well and has been really efficient offensively which really helps."


Both Moravian and Juniata made a series of defensive stops before sophomore Kyle Koehler (Chester Springs, Pa./Devon Prep.) nailed a jump shot for the first score in over three minutes of action followed quickly by a baseline score from first year player Nate Ogle (Falls Church, Va./George Mason). Eight different Juniata players scored in the first half alone and the Eagles tacked on seven assists as a team in the first 20 minutes. On the final possession, Hays rolled in a layup for the 29-18 Juniata halftime lead.


"We hope to have everyone involved," said Curley. "We made the decision to play a bunch of guys after a good week of practice. Our only way of winning, and I thought we had gotten away from it, is to be a team and get contributions from everybody. None of those are ever too small. They are all really important. That's something we've really emphasized – how important ever possession is and how the small things add up to big things."


Out of the break, Scholly made a great effort to get an offensive rebound for Juniata and followed it up with a beautiful pump fake and sunk the trey for the 35-20 Eagle lead. Juniata started to roll with Hays snagging a steal and converting the fast break and a defensive stop on Moravian's next possession for the 40-22 lead with 15 minutes left to play.


The Greyhounds responded with five unanswered points to cut the Juniata lead to 15. Moravian's half-court press helped cut the Eagles' lead down to nine at 43-34, but Stapleton put in two, followed by a strong rebound from senior Lucas Mellott (Warfordsburg, Pa./Southern Fulton), for the 11-point lead with one quarter of the game left to play. At 3:12 on the clock, Ogle made a sweet backside cut to dish the ball into Hays to keep the lead at 12.


Moravia's dreams of a comeback were thwarted by Juniata's strong defense and solid foul shooting as the Eagles earned their fourth conference game of the season, and the 2013-14 sweep of Moravian, with the 61-51 final. Juniata notched 12 assists to Moravian's three and the Eagles finished with a 57.9 field goal percentage to the Greyhounds 32.7%.


Juniata returns to Kennedy Sports + Recreation Center Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m., to take on Goucher College.


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