|Brendan Boken||Marcus Thomas||Justin Klingman|
Editor’s note: Brendan Boken was
named the tournament's most valuable player (MVP) and Justin
Klingman was named to the all-tournament team. This
information became available after the original press release was
WILKES-BARRE, Pa.—University of Scranton men’s basketball coach Carl Danzig is breathing a sigh of relief now that this week is finally over.
Playing their fourth game in seven days, the Royals once again held on for dear life, downing Wilkes University, 75-73, Saturday afternoon in the fourth annual Cross County Challenge at Scandlon Gymnasium, less than 24 hours after surviving an 86-83 win in overtime against the host school, King’s College, Friday evening.
It turned out to be a memorable day for Scranton junior forward Brendan Boken (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola), who made 9 of 11 shots from the field to finish with 21 points, including the 1000th of his career. He is the 42nd player in Royals’ history to accomplish this feat and now has 1008 points in his career.
Junior forward Marcus Thomas (Clarksburg, Md./Clarksburg) added a career-high 15 points and senior guard Justin Klingman (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights) also chipped in 15 points, including a 3-pointer with 2:08 left to give the Royals a 6-point lead and two free throws with 30 seconds remaining to keep it at four points. The win was the third straight for Scranton, now 9-2.
Wilkes, which lost its fifth straight game to fall to 6-6, was led by freshman forward Zachary Brunner (Mechanisburg, Pa./Mechanisburg), who connected on 10 of 11 shots from the field for 23 points, and junior guard/forward Steve Stravinski (Pittston, Pa./Pittston) added 18.
The Colonels, who shot over 55 percent from the field in the second half and nearly 53 percent for the game, also received 12 points from junior guard Alec Wizar (Lebanon, Pa./Annville Cleona) and 11 from senior forward Jeremy Hartman (Little Egg Harbor, NJ/Pinelands Regional).
Like Wilkes, the Royals were on fire from the field, connecting on 16 of 20 attempts in the second half (80 percent) on their way to shooting nearly 69 percent for the game (28-for-41).
Nevertheless, Scranton couldn’t put the Colonels away. The Royals built up an 11-point lead with 2:25 left in the first half, but Wilkes scored the final six points to cut the margin to five, 33-28, by intermission.
Thomas, whose previous high was an 11-point effort against Elizabethtown College in November, gave the Royals a big boost in the final 20 minutes of play, scoring 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting from the field as Scranton never relinquished its lead.
The Royals almost gave it away, however, committing two costly turnovers within a 28-second span that saw Wilkes slice a 6-point lead down to two, 73-71, with 15 seconds left. Boken then answered with a lay-up off an assist from senior guard Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy, NJ) with 12 seconds remaining before Hartman rebounded a missed 3-pointer and scored at the buzzer to set the final score.
Wilkes converted 14 Scranton turnovers into 21 points to offset a 38-20 deficit in points in the paint.
Danzig finished with eight points, seven rebounds, and four assists and freshman guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, NJ/Ridge) had four points and four assists for Scranton, which has now won and/or will share the Cross County Challenge title for the fourth straight year (depending on the outcome of the King's-Marywood game). Klingman, who is ranked among the nation’s best in 3-point field goal percentage shooting, connected on 5 of 7 shots from the field, including 3 of 4 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Scranton, whose last four games have been decided by a total of 13 points, will return to Landmark Conference action this Tuesday, January 6, against Drew University in the Long Center beginning at 7:00 p.m.
MVP- Brendan Boken - University of Scranton