HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Down 70-69 with 2:06 to play, the 18th-ranked Susquehanna men's basketball team came from behind to defeat Juniata 74-71 on the road Wednesday night.
Steven Weidlich's three-point play with just four seconds remaining sealed the victory for the Crusaders. Weidlich also reached the 1,000 career point mark in the victory; he entered the game with 999 points and drained a three at the 16:42 mark of the first half to eclipse the 1,000 point mark.
SU, which had trailed by as many as nine points, out-scored the Eagles 45-36 in the second half to complete the comeback and improve to 17-2 on the season, including an 8-2 mark in Landmark Conference games. The Crusaders have also now won both regular season matchups with Juniata.
The Crusaders were led by juniors Dan Weiss and Weidlich who both finished with 23 points. Weidlich also had five boards and three assists. Josh Miller joined them in double figures with 12 points.
Juniata's bench kept the Eagles in the game with 33 points but SU shot 50 percent from the floor and forced 15 Juniata turnovers.
The Eagles (14-7, 7-5) scored first on a pair of free throws to take an early 2-0 lead less than a minute into the game. Weiss tied it on a layup at the 18:22 mark at which point the Crusaders went on a 6-2 run to go up by four (8-4) at the 16:42 mark. Juniata answered with a 15-2 stretch, though, that put SU in a nine-point hole (19-10).
A Jason Dietrich jump shot followed by a Tyler Hoagland three brought the Crusaders within four (15-19) at the 10:47 mark. Both teams traded baskets with Susquehanna getting within three points twice, once on a Dalton Reichard jumper (19-22) with 8:47 on the clock and then again on two Weiss free throws (21-24) at the 8:07 mark. That was the closest SU got throughout the remainder of the half as the Eagles took a six-point lead (35-29) into the locker room at halftime.
Weiss's three-point play two minutes into the second half tied it at 37 but Juniata held a seven-point lead, 48-41, after five minutes of play. The Eagles maintained a minimum of a two-point lead until, with 3:10 left to play and SU down 70-64, Weidlich connected on a layup and Hedley followed with a three to make it a one-point game (70-69) with 2:06 to play.
Weiss's layup at the 42-second mark gave Susquehanna its first lead since the 16:13 mark of the opening half. A Dennis Fisher free throw knotted the game at 71 but Weidlich came through with a clutch three-point play with just four seconds to play, clinching the 74-71 Crusader victory.
Susquehanna remains on the road to face Moravian on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 4:00 p.m.