|Ross Danzig||Justin Klingman||Brendon Boken||Ethan Danzig|
Photo gallery (courtesy of Dan Ceccacci)
Photo gallery (courtesy of Emma Black)
SCRANTON, Pa.— Senior guard Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy-NJ) made sure he didn’t play his final game Wednesday evening.
He put on a dominating performance, scoring a season-high 26 points (on 11 of 13 shooting from the field) and had seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals in leading The University of Scranton men’s basketball team to a 67-53 victory over Susquehanna University in the semifinals of the Landmark Conference tournament at the Long Center.
The win was the fourth straight for the Royals, now 21-6 overall, and vaults them into Saturday’s championship game against top-seeded Catholic University at the DuFour Center in Washington, DC. The winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championships while the loser looks to claim an at-large spot. The Cardinals downed Drew University, 79-53, in the other Landmark semifinal match-up.
Susquehanna, which entered tonight’s game on a five-game winning streak, fell to 19-7. Junior guard/forward Josh Miller (Strasburg, Pa./Lampeter Strasburg) finished with 13 points and six rebounds and sophomore guard Steve Weidlich (Watchung, NJ/Watchung Hills) added 12 for the Crusaders, who fell behind 32-24 at intermission and trailed by as many as 23 late in the second half.
Danzig’s all-round performance overshadowed a noteworthy defensive effort by Scranton.
The Royals made significant changes to their game plan after Susquehanna lit them up two weeks ago in a 74-60 win here at the Long Center. They closed down the Crusaders’ perimeter game, pressured high-scoring junior Brandon Hedley (Silver Spring, Md./Salisbury Preparatory) into a 3-for-14 shooting effort, and out-rebounded them, 39-29, to control the low post area.
Susquehanna, the league’s top scoring team at 79 points per game, never got untracked offensively. They trailed by nine with 14:17 left in the second half before Danzig scored five points to ignite a 12-2 run that pushed Scranton’s lead to 19, 53-34, with 9:57 remaining. The Royals were never seriously threatened the rest of the way. For the game, the Crusaders shot only 32.8 percent from the field, including a 9-for-26 effort (34.6 percent) from the 3-point arc.
Scranton, which has won five Landmark titles (’08, ’09, ’11, ’12, ’14) in the league’s eight-year history, also received 10 points from senior guard Justin Klingman (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights), seven points and a game-high 13 rebounds from junior forward Brendan Boken (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola), and eight points from freshman guard Ethan Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights).
The Royals and the Cardinals split their regular-season games. Last Saturday, Scranton snapped Catholic’s 15-game winning streak and ended their hopes of becoming the first team in conference history to go undefeated in the regular season with an 83-71 victory. On January 17, the Cardinals defeated the Royals, 71-65, at the DuFour Center.
Danzig’s 26 points gives him 1765 for his career, which is the fifth-most in Royals’ history.