|Brendan Boken||Kevin Doolan||Ross Danzig||Justin Klingman|
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior forward Brendan Boken (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola) and freshman guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, NJ/Ridge) made sure senior guards Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy-NJ) and Justin Klingman (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights) didn’t play their final game for The University of Scranton men’s basketball team Friday evening.
Boken scored 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds and Doolan added 16 points—including 10 in the first half—as the Royals build up a 15-point halftime lead and withstood a late rally to defeat Baruch College (NY), 72-62, in an NCAA Division III championships first-round game at Staake Gymnasium on the campus of Babson College.
Danzig and Klingman combined for 24 points and nine rebounds as the Royals won their sixth straight game to improve to 23-5 overall and move into tomorrow evening’s second-round game against 5th-ranked Babson, which downed Westfield St., 75-62.
Junior guard Ryan Markoe (Staten Island, NY/M.S.I.T.) paced Baruch, which put the wraps on a 21-7 season, with 12 points and senior forward/center Granville Gittens (Brooklyn, NY/James Baldwin School) and senior center Brian McMahon (Washington Heights, NY/Mount St. Michael) chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
“The ball bounced our way,” said veteran Scranton head coach Carl Danzig, “which was great, but our guards did a great job.”
Especially Doolan, who knocked down a number of shots early as the Royals built up a double-digit lead en route to a 37-22 halftime lead. Scranton shot over 53 percent from the field while holding the Bearcats to less than 34 percent.
The Royals maintained a double-digit lead throughout most of the second half until Baruch junior guard Raymond De La Cruz (Bronx, NY/All Hallows) made a steal, fed freshman guard Liam Monaghan (Bay Ridge, NY/Xavier) for a lay-up, and freshman forward Chimeachi Ekekeugbor (Matawan, NJ/Christian Brothers Academy) followed a Boken lay-up with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to six, 64-58, with 3:03 left.
Danzig then converted a traditional 3-point play and Boken drained five free throws in the final 41 seconds of play to seal it. Royals shot nearly 55 percent in the second half (12 of 22) to finish 54 percent for the game (27 of 50), including 50 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (11 of of 22). Baruch offset its cold shooting woes in the first half by making 50 percent of its attempt in the second to finish a respectable 42.6 percent for the game.
“We have a lot of weapons offensively,” said Klingman, who knocked down 3 of 5 3-point field goals to raise his shooting percentage from beyond the arc to 49.1 percent. “Brendan (Boken) usually draws a double team down low, which opens up a lot of opportunities for our shooters.”
Scranton has now made 10-or-more 3-pointers in two straight and four of its last six games. With the win, the Royals advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012.
Boken’s 19 points tonight moved him into 20th place on the Royals’ all-time scoring list with 1293, surpassing Henry Condron (1288, 1996-2000) along the way.
Tomorrow night’s game will be the first match-up ever between Scranton and Babson College in men’s basketball.