Men’s hoops suffers heartbreaking loss 67-62

Junior Keith Burgess

The Pitt-Bradford men’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Juniata College on Saturday afternoon, falling 67-62. The Panthers raced out to a 35-27 halftime margin, before allowing the Eagles to take the lead late in the second half.

Junior Keith Burgess paced the Panthers on the floor with 17 points, three rebounds and four assists. Freshman Zach Smith finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.

This contest marks Smith’s first career game finishing in double figures. 

Pitt-Bradford (2-2, 0-0) controlled the game from the opening tip, shooting a whopping 65 percent from the field in the first half, including 71 percent from the charity stripe. The Panthers opened the scoring on a 16-4 run to begin the game and played stout defense on the other end.

With four minutes remaining in the first half, Juniata was able to bring the score within six points, a 28-22 margin in favor of the Panthers. This was the closest it would get as Pitt-Bradford drained the final buckets of the first twenty minutes to carry its 35-27 lead into halftime. 

Juniata (3-1, 0-0) found itself down 42-31 early in the second half before putting together a scoring run of its own that brought the Eagles back into the game.

Juniata had three players score in double figures. The leading scorer was Kevin Stapleton, who finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and two assists. 

With 1:31 remaining in the contest, the Panthers led 59-58. Consecutive misses from behind the arc gave the Eagles a chance to take the lead and they did just that.

With time winding down, Pitt-Bradford missed on a few opportunities to even the score, and Juniata was able to steal the victory from the Panthers. 

“Our team gave tremendous effort tonight,” said head coach Britt Moore. “We controlled the game from the tip. Sometimes you need one or two breaks on the road and we did not get them tonight.”

The Panthers are back in action on Tuesday night, Nov. 26, for a 6 p.m. tip-off with Houghton at the KOA Arena.