HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Four Crusaders finished in double figures for the Susquehanna men's basketball team as SU snapped a three-game losing streak to Juniata on Wednesday night, defeating the Eagles 86-76 at the Kennedy Sports & Rec Center.
Sophomore guard Brandon Hedley (Silver Spring, Md. / Salisbury Prep) scored a team-high 23 points with 15 coming from long distance. Freshman Steven Weidlich (Watchung, N.J. / Watchung Hills) followed with 22 points, also scoring 15 from beyond the arc.
Senior Jake Eskin (Germantown, Md. / Churchill ) recorded 18 points, shooting 10-of-11 from the charity stripe, and distributed a game-high eight assists. Classmate Harley Sellinger (Mill Hall, Pa. / Central Mountain) finished with 14 points and a contest-best eight boards.
The Crusaders (12-6, 4-3 Landmark) shot 66 percent from the field and a blistering 57.9 percent (11-of-19) from three-point land with Hedley and Weidlich combining for 10 of the makes from downtown.
Juniata (12-6, 3-4 Landmark) also had four players reach the double-digit milestone, led by 24 points from Jeremy Hays.
In the first half, SU jumped out to a 5-0 lead thanks to a three-pointer by Hedley and Eskin layup less than one minute into the contest. However, Juniata responded with 15-4 run to claim the lead (15-9) at 13:59.
But the Crusaders bounced right back as Mike Perillo (Holmdel, N.J. / Holmdel) and Weidlich each knocked down shots from downtown to bring the Orange & Maroon within three (18-15) at the 12:10 mark.
Juniata again went on a spurt and took a double-digit lead (28-18) with 8:26 remaining in the opening half. Again, SU recovered with a quick 6-0 spurt behind baskets from Weidlich and Matt McGugan (Silver Spring, Md. / Blake) to pull within six (28-22).
The Crusaders retook the lead after Eskin knocked down a pair of free throws and Hedley hit another three-pointer to go ahead 30-28 with a little over four minutes to go. Hedley scored five more points and Eskin hit another layup for SU as the Crusaders went into intermission holding a slim four point edge.
SU opened the second half on a 12-2 run to go ahead 46-32 behind a trio of three-pointers by Weidlich. After the Eagles pulled within eight (51-43), Weidlich and Eskin each converted old-fashioned, three-point plays to hand the Crusaders an 11-point lead with 11:32 remaining in the game.
But Juniata would not go away quietly and trimmed the lead to five (59-54) with a little under nine minutes to play. Following a 30-second timeout by the Crusaders, Weidlich knocked down a three-pointer and a layup to hand SU a 12-point cushion (72-60) with exactly three minutes remaining.
With the Eagles trying to play catch-up, SU successfully converted all eight of its foul shots down the stretch, including Eskin going 6-for-6, as the Crusaders held on for the key league victory.
The Crusaders host Drew on Saturday at 2 p.m. SU fell to the Rangers 64-63 back on Jan. 11.
The Susquehanna men's soccer team will be honored at halftime with a banner ceremony for winning the 2013 Landmark Conference Championship this past November over Juniata, their second-straight league title.