Tartans Drop Season Opener 76-69 at Juniata
(HUNTINGDON, Pa.) – The Carnegie Mellon University men's basketball team opened its 2011-12 campaign with a 76-69 setback at Juniata College. Sophomore Asad Meghani (Carrollton, Texas/Greenhill School) led the Tartans with a career-high 18 points and five assists while connecting on 6-of-10 from behind the arc.
Carnegie Mellon jumped out to an early 5-0 lead over the first 3:40 of action, but the Eagles rattled off 13 straight points to claim a 13-5 advantage with 12:10 to play in the first half. With the Tartans trailing 20-13 halfway through the frame, junior Andre Moore's (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) second three-point bucket of the half sparked an 11-3 run over a four minute stretch for the Tartans, as the Cardinal and Gray grabbed a 24-23 lead.
The Eagles were fast to respond to the Tartans. On the next possession down the floor, Brian Scholly drained a three-point basket from the corner to give the lead back to the Eagles. Senior Joe Kromka (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) tied the score at 27-27 later in the half, but a 9-2 run by Juniata to closeout the half, gave the home team a 36-29 edge at the break.
With the Tartans trailing 45-35 four minutes into the second half, Meghani hit back-to-back treys to pull the Tartans within four at, 45-41 with 15:02 left in regulation. Juniata was once again fast to respond as they built the lead back to nine, 50-41, following a traditional three-point play by Kevin Stapleton and a layup from Lucas Mellott. The Eagles led by as many as 17, 65-48 with 8:13 to play, before the Tartans mounted their comeback.
The Tartans went on a 19-3 run over the next 5:19 to pull within one at 68-67 with 2:54 to play following a pair of made free throws by sophomore Christian Manoli (San Rafael, Calif./Terra Linda). That is as close as the Tartans came while Juniata was perfect from the charity stripe down the stretch going 6-6 in the last minute of play to hold for the 76-69 victory.
Meghani led the Tartans in scoring followed by Manoli, who added 13 points. Moore finished with 10 points and tied his career-highs with four steals and three assists in the loss. Senior John Duhring (Round Hill, Va./St. Maria Goretti) led all rebounders with nine while adding eight points
Juniata was led by Jeremy Hays' 18 points. Alex Raymond and Nate Higgins also tallied double figures for the Eagles, ending with 13 and 11, respectively.
The Tartans will be back in action, Saturday, November 19, as they entertain Penn State Behrend on the hardwood of Skibo Gymnasium. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.