|Brendan Boken||Ethan Danzig||Ross Danzig||Marcus Thomas||Justin Klingman|
Photo gallery (couresy of Dan Ceccacci)
SCRANTON, Pa.—The University of Scranton men’s
basketball team spoiled Catholic University’s bid to make
history Saturday afternoon at the Long Center.
Junior forward Brendan Boken (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola) scored 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, senior guard Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy-NJ) had 16 points eight rebounds and five assists, and steadily-improving freshman guard Ethan Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) added 16 points as the Royals downed the 14th-ranked Cardinals, 83-71, spoiling their bid to become the first team in the Landmark Conference history to go undefeated in the regular season.
Catholic, which had a 15-game winning streak snapped while falling to 21-4 overall and 15-1 in the Landmark Conference, was led by sophomore forward Corey Stanford (Harrison City, Pa./Penn Trafford) with 34 points, including 22 in the second half. The Cardinals also received 11 points from freshman forward Jay Howard (Pennsauken, NJ/Paul VI-NJ) and nine points apiece from junior forward/center Austin Calling (South Windsor, Conn./East Catholic) and junior guard Bryson Fonville (Greensboro, NC/Page).
Even though the game had no bearing on either team’s conference standing—Catholic is the top seed and the Royals second—Scranton needed this win badly to keep its regional ranking intact. The Royals, now 20-5 overall and 14-2 in the conference, entered the game fifth in the Mid-Atlantic region, two spots behind Catholic, and are hoping to impress the NCAA selection committee enough to earn an at-large bid if they would happen to fall short in the upcoming Landmark tournament.
After opening up an 8-point lead at intermission, Boken sandwiched a pair of lay-ups around a lay-up off a steal by senior Justin Klingman (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights) to give Scranton a 14-point lead with 18:14 left. Klingman finished with nine points and six assists in 33 minutes of action.
And even though the Cardinals never cut the lead under 10 points the rest of the way, the Royals were never really out of the woods until junior guard/forward Marcus Thomas (Clarksburg, Md./Clarksburg), who had eight points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block, hit a back-door lay-up off of a feed from Boken with 1:32 left to give Scranton a 13-point cushion.
Stanford was unstoppable for the Cardinals, coming up with basket after basket when it seemed like the Royals might pull away. He connected on 11 of 18 shots from the field, including 3 of 7 from the 3-point arc, but his ability to the get to the basket gave Scranton fits. He connected on 9 of 10 free throw attempts, many of which came at the end of a driving lay-up that resulted in a traditional 3-point play.
Nevertheless, the Royals were able to answer, especially Ethan Danzig, who buried back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the second half to keep Scranton’s lead at 15 with 11:11 remaining. He has now scored in double figures seven times this year, including in four his last six games.
His older brother Ross reached a personal milestone tonight. His 16 points gives him 1739 points in his career, which is seven more than his father—veteran Scranton head coach Carl Danzig—scored during his playing days at Baker University in Kansas. The elder Danzig scored 1732 points there from 1983-1987.
Boken’s ‘double-double’ was his fifth of the season and the 15th of his career. His 22 points today moves him into 25th place on the Royals’ all-time scoring list with 1244.
The Royals, who have now reached the 20-win plateau for the second straight year and for the eighth time in Danzig’s 14-year tenure as head coach, will host Susquehanna University this Wednesday, February 25,in Landmark semifinal game at the Long Center. The official start time has yet to be determined.