Royals Down Hot-Shooting Drew, 73-69, In Early-Season Landmark Conference Showdown Tuesday At The Long Center

Senior guard Ross Danzig scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half as the Royals overcame hot-shooting Drew University, 73-69, Tuesday evening in Landmark Conference action at the Long Center
Senior guard Ross Danzig scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half as the Royals overcame hot-shooting Drew University, 73-69, Tuesday evening in Landmark Conference action at the Long Center
Brendan Boken Ross Danzig
Justin Klingman Kevin Doolan

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SCRANTON, Pa.—The University of Scranton men’s basketball team has had its share of gut-wrenching victories lately.

But none was more important than tonight’s come-from-behind 73-69 victory over Drew University at the Long Center in an early-season showdown for first place in the Landmark Conference.

Junior forward Brendan Boken (Pasadena, Calif./Loyola) led the Royals, now 10-2 overall and 4-0 in the conference, with 20 points and 7 rebounds, senior guard Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy-NJ) finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals, and senior guardJustin Klingman (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights) and freshman guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, NJ/Ridge) combined for 27 points and 7 assists.

Drew, which fell to 7-5 overall and 3-1 in the Landmark, were led by junior guards Kevin Herring II (Columbus, Ohio/The Wellington School) with 19 points and 5 rebounds, Mike Klinger (Franklin Park, NJ/Rutgers Preparatory School) with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, and Ozan Yucetepte (Bursa, Turkey/Westfield-NJ) with 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Tonight’s game was a confidence-building one for Danzig, whose promising senior year has gotten off to a rocky start due to a high-ankle sprain.  He scored five of the Royals' final nine points, including a 3-pointer with 1:51 left to give Scranton the lead for good, 67-66.  After Boken tipped in a missed lay-up by junior forward Marcus Thomas (Clarksburg, Md./Clarksburg), Danzig made a steal and converted a lay-up with 19 seconds left to make it a two-possession game.  He scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half on 5 of 6 shooting from the field.

For a while it appeared as if the Rangers would never miss.  They hit their first seven shots, bolted out to a 9-point lead midway through the first half and settled for a 36-29 halftime lead.  Yucetepe, Herring, and Klinger combined for 27 points as Drew connected on nearly 52 percent of their shots.  The Rangers continued to blister the nets in the second half, too, building up leads of 7 points on two occasions, the last of which came with 9:20 left on a 3-pointer by Herring, 56-49.

Doolan, who has now scored in double figures in five of his last six games, hit a much-needed 3-pointer to counter Herring’s basket and Danzig followed with a 3-pointer of his own to cut the gap to one, 56-55.  Scranton took its first lead since the 19:24 mark of the first half on a lay-up by Thomas with 5:42 left+ that was set up by Danzig, but the Rangers refused to go away.

Junior center Kevin-Michael Miller (Rockaway, NJ/Morris Knolls) got loose down low for a dunk and Klinger followed with an NBA-range 3-pointer to give the Rangers a 4-point lead with 4:53 left.  Danzig answered with a lay-up and Boken regained the lead for the Royals with a traditional 3-point play with 3:43 remaining before Drew regained the lead again moments later after Herring buried a 3-pointer from the right perimeter.  The Rangers then failed to score on their next four possessions before junior guard Jason Huelbig (Middletown, NJ/Middletown) hit a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to set the final score.

For the game, the Rangers shot nearly 53 percent from the field, including 50 percent (11 of 22) from beyond the 3-point arc.  Scranton connected on nearly 57 percent of its second half field goal attempts to offset a 10-for-26 effort (38.5 percent) in the first half.    The Royals were also 12 of 14 from the free throw line.

Boken scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half for Scranton, which won its fourth straight game.  Doolan continued his impressive floor game again tonight, knocking down 5 of 8 shots from the field, handing out 2 assists, making 2 steals, and did not commit turnover in 36 minutes of action.

The Royals will return to action Thursday evening, January 8, against Susquehanna University in Landmark Conference action beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Houts Gymnasium in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. 

--ROYALS--

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