HUNTINGDON, Pa. - The Penn State Behrend men's basketball team fell to Juniata 50-42 in the first round of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) South Region tournament on Wednesday night.
In a game that was close for nearly all forty minutes, a late run propelled the Eagles to the victory.
After a Nick Thorsen (Bethel Park, PA/Bethel Park) three to open the game, the Lions (16-12) offense was slow to start. Midway through the opening stanza, Behrend took the lead back with a Casey Courneen (Sewickley, PA/Quaker Valley) three, but the scored remained low at just 15-13.
After Courneen's bucket, the Lions went over three minutes without a field goal until Courneen connected on another one from behind the arc. The stingy Behrend defense kept them in the game though.
Chris Rader (Wexford, PA/Pine-Richland) followed Courneen's three with one of his own to give Behrend their biggest lead of the half at six. However, Juniata ended the first 20 minutes on a 7-2 run to close the gap to one at the break.
With the second half underway, the game remained to be low scoring. Russ Conley (Transfer, PA/Reynolds) netted the Lions' first six points to keep pace with the Eagles. Behrend's defense kept Juniata scoreless for over a three-minute span early on, but the offense could not get it going. By the midway point though, the Lions still held onto a four-point lead.
The big turn in the game came after two free-throws by Conley at the 9:09 mark. From that point on, the Eagles would outscore Behrend 18-4, to close the game out and earn the victory.
After hitting five threes in the first half, the Lions shot 0-10 from long range in the second and only hit 16 field goals in the game, tying their season-low.
Conley led Behrend with a double-double, netting 16 and grabbing 10 boards. Courneen, Rader, and Keith Wallace (Washington, DC/Central Tech - Erie) each contributed strong minutes off the bench. All three chipped in six points.