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ETOWN USES 59-POINT SECOND HALF TO SUBDUE JUNIATA, 86-65; UNRUH SCORES CAREER-BEST 21 POINTS AS JAYS CLINCH MAC PLAYOFF BERTH
ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. --- Ross Unruh (Denver, Pa./Cocalico) led five players in double figures with a career-high 21 points as Elizabethtown defeated Juniata, 86-65, in MAC Commonwealth League action on Tuesday. With the win, the Blue Jays improved to 14-9 (8-5 MAC Commonwealth League) and clinched their sixth MAC playoff berth in the past seven seasons.
A.J. Beamer (New Holland, Pa./Garden Spot) and Kevin Cristofoletti (Kendall Park, N.J./Notre Dame) each scored 13 points as Etown erupted for a season-high 59 points in the second half to break open a close game. Bob Porambo (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) collected 12 points while Mark Sweet (Coatesville, Pa./Coatesville) added 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds for the Jays.
Shane Crandall and Scott Leonard led the way for Juniata with 12 points apiece. Dave Reddick scored 11 points and Nathan Hager added ten for the Eagles, who fell to 3-20 (1-12 MAC Commonwealth League).
Juniata took its last lead of the game with 15:45 remaining when Crandall scored on a layup to make it 35-33. Etown then took charge with a 10-0 run.
Cristofoletti knotted the score at 35 with a layup and Porambo followed with a three-point play to put the Jays on top for good at 38-35 with 14:25 to play. Unruh, who scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half, followed with a jumper and three-point basket to give Etown a 43-35 advantage with 13:11 left.
A jumper by Leonard with 9:42 remaining pulled Juniata within 51-47, but the Blue Jays went on a 7-1 burst capped by a Cristofoletti three-point play to take a 58-48 lead with 8:52 left in regulation.
The Eagles closed within 62-55 after a pair of free throws from Mike Trestka, but Unruh answered with five more points to give Etown a 67-55 lead and help the Jays cruise to the win.
Etown, which entered the game as the conference's second-best free throw shooting squad, went 17-for-21 (81.0 percent) from the charity stripe on the night. After a dismal 10-for-37 shooting performance in the first half, the Blue Jays shot 21-for-36 (58.3 percent) after halftime.
Etown, picked to finish seventh out of eight
in the Commonwealth League in the MAC's preseason coaches poll, can finish
in second place with a win on Saturday and single losses by Albright and
Widener in either of those teams' final two games. The Blue Jays
wrap up their regular season on Saturday, February 20 at home against Moravian.
Game time is 4 p.m.
Three-pointers: Juniata 3-11 (Reddick 0-1, Richards 1-1, Sowerby 0-1, Crandall 1-2, Trestka 0-2, Dietrich 1-2, Hager 0-2), Elizabethtown 7-12 (Schmoyer 0-1, Parise 0-1, Cristofoletti 1-1, Unruh 3-4, Beamer 1-1, Weber 0-1, Porambo 3-3). Rebounds: Juniata 34 (Lonesky 7), Elizabethtown 34 (Sweet 9). Assists: Juniata 13 (Lonesky 5), Elizabethtown 17 (Parise 4, Beamer 4). Turnovers: Juniata 25, Elizabethtown 16. Blocked Shots: Juniata 2 (Lonesky 1, Leonard 1), Elizabethtown 4 (Sattele 2, Porambo 2). Steals: Juniata 11 (Crandall 5), Elizabethtown 13 (Sweet 3, Weber 3). Personal Fouls: Juniata 24, Elizabethtown 18. Technical Fouls: None. Attendance: 250.