The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 30, 2014

Men's basketball: Crusaders snap 3-game losing skid

By The Daily Item

HUNTINGDON — Four players finished in double figures for Susquehanna as the Crusaders 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 scored a team-high 23 points with 15 coming from long distance. Freshman Steven Weidlich followed with 22 points, also scoring 15 from beyond the arc.

Senior Jake Eskin recorded 18 points, shooting 10-of-11 from the charity stripe, and distributed a game-high eight assists. ClassmateHarley Sellinger 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 3-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 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 to pull within six (28-22).

The Crusaders retook the lead after Eskin knocked down a pair of free throws and Hedley hit another 3-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 3-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.