|Brendan Boken||Ross Danzig||Justin Klingman|
MADISON, NJ—A week off for The University of Scranton men’s basketball team may have been just what the doctor ordered.
In what was expected to be a major hurdle for the Royals, they blitzed Drew University, 79-69, Wednesday evening at Baldwin Gymnasium behind 23 points from junior forward Brendan Boken (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola), 19 from senior guard Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy-NJ), and 17 from senior guardJustin Klingman (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights).
The win was the second straight for Scranton, now 14-4 overall and 8-1 in the conference, while the Rangers slipped to 10-9 overall and 5-5 in the Landmark.
Junior guard Mike Klinger (Franklin Park, NJ/Rutgers Preparatory) led Drew with 20 points and junior guards Jason Huelbig (Middletown, NJ/Middletown North) and Kevin Herring II (Columbus, Ohio/The Wellington School) chipped in 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Returning to action for the first time since last Wednesday’s 84-57 win over Moravian at the Long Center, the Royals jumped out to a 45-28 halftime lead by connecting on over 59 percent of their field goal attempts. Boken, Klingman, and Danzig made 13 of 18 shots (72.2 percent) en route to combining for 34 first-half points.
Boken continued to shred the Rangers in the second half, connecting on 4 of 5 shot attempts as the Royals maintain a double-digit lead throughout the final 20 minutes of play. For the game, he made 10 of 14 shots from the field to improve his team-leading field goal percentage to 63.9 percent. He is now shooting over 70 percent from the field in his last five games.
Drew, which gave the Royals quite a scare at the Long Center before losing 73-69 on January 6, got off to a slow start and never recovered. They shot less than less than 41 percent for the game, were out-rebounded 36-26, and were out-scored in the paint, 38-16, which was largely due to their inability to stop Boken down low.
Tonight’s win keeps Scranton within striking distance of Catholic University for first place and home-court advantage throughout the Landmark Conference playoffs, which begins in less than a month. Scranton is now in second place, just a game and a half behind the Cardinals with seven games remaining.
Danzig’s 19-points this evening moves him into 11th place on the Royals’ all-time scoring list with 1636 points. He needs 13 more to tie Mickey Banas (1649 points, 1980-1984) for 10th place.
The Royals will return to Landmark Conference action Saturday, January 31, against Elizabethtown College beginning at 4:00 p.m. at the Long Center. Prior to tip-off, Danzig, Klingman and Michael Fee (Richboro, Pa./St. Joseph’s Preparatory) will be honored as part of Senior Day festivities.