HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Desperately needing a victory to keep its playoff hopes alive, Susquehanna's men's basketball team fell at Juniata 74-63 Wednesday evening at Kennedy Sports & Recreation Center.
SU (9-15, 5-8) was led by freshman Brandon Hedley (Silver Spring, Md. / Salisbury Prep) who scored a game-high 23 points, 15 of which came from beyond the arc. Junior center Harley Sellinger (Mill Hall, Pa. / Central Mountain) chipped in 11 points, six rebounds, three steals and an assist. Freshman Josh Miller (Strasburg, Pa. / Lampeter Strasburg) joined in double figures with 10 points and also grabbed six boards.
The Crusaders shot 36.1 percent from the field while the Eagles (16-8, 8-5) shot 51 percent from the field and went 16-for-22 from the charity stripe (72.7 percent). Every starter for Juniata finished in double figures with Jeremy Hays leading the way with 15 points as the Eagles swept the regular-season season series.
In the first half, SU found itself down 5-0 less than two minutes into the action before a layup by Miller got the Crusaders on the board. Unfortunately, the Eagles countered with a 7-1 spurt to jump ahead 12-4 with 13:44 left.
A three-point play by Sellinger brought the Crusaders within five (12-7) but Juniata responded with a 5-0 run to increase its lead to 19-7.The Eagles stormed out to 15-point margin (32-17) before Wally Rutecki (Springfield, Pa. / Springfield) ending the SU scoring slump with a layup with a little over three minutes remaining in the half.
With 1:10 left in the first period, Hedley and Luke Cable (York, Pa. / West York) both hit three-pointers to trim the deficit to 12 (38-26) at intermission.
In the beginning of the second half, Mike Perillo (Holmdel, N.J. / Holmdel) hit a jumper to cut the Juniata advantage to seven (40-33) at 17:56. The junior guard hit a pair of free throws and Hedley made two layups to get within five (46-41) with 13:18 remaining.
A Sellinger layup with less than 10 minutes to go kept SU within five (52-47) but that was the closest the Crusaders got the rest of the way as Juniata used a 14-7 run to close out the contest.
After Wednesday's Landmark contests, Catholic has clinched the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament, Scranton No. 2, and Juniata No. 3. Merchant Marine and Moravian are the remaining teams battling for the No. 4 position.
The Crusaders will host Merchant Marine on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. Five senior members will be honored in a pre-game ceremony.