|Brendan Boken||Kevin Doolan||Ross Danzig|
BABSON PARK, Mass.—No one can ever question the heart of University of Scranton senior guard Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy-NJ).
Even after being held scoreless in the first half of tonight’s game against 4th-ranked Babson College in an NCAA second-round game, he fought back and scored 12 points in the final 20 minutes of play, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Royals from dropping a 54-47 decision.
Junior forward Brendan Boken (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola) led Scranton with 17 points and six rebounds and freshman point-guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, NJ/Ridge) had another impressive night with 12 points and three rebounds as the Royals put the wraps on a 23-6 season.
Babson, which won its 15th straight game to improve to 27-2, was led by sophomore forward Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough/Taft School) with 19 points and six rebounds, senior forward Eric Dean (Gilford, NH/New Hampton School) had 15 points and five rebounds, and senior forward John Wickey (Manchester, NH/Manchester Central) finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Quite simply, the Royals ran into an opponent who was able to shut off their perimeter game.
In the first half, only three Scranton players scored—Doolan had nine points, Boken eight, and junior guard/forward Marcus Thomas (Clarksburg, Md./Clarksburg) two—in falling behind 23-19 at intermission. Scranton connected on only 8 of 23 attempts (34.8 percent) and was just 3 of 11 from beyond the 3-point arc (27.3 percent). Babson was just a tad better, making just 10 of 26 shots from the field (38.5 percent).
Flannery got the Beavers rolling early in the second half, connecting on a 3-pointer and following with a lay-up as Babson used a 9-2 run to build up an 11-point lead with 17:44 remaining. Their lead eventually capped out at 12 points before Scranton begin to whittle away.
The Royals got the lead down to five on three occasions, the last of which came with 2:05 left on a 3-pointer by Doolan with 2:05 remaining. After the Beavers missed a lay-up, Scranton had two chances on its next possession to cut into the lead even more, but Doolan missed a lay-up and Boken missed a tip-in on the offensive rebound. The Royals then misfired on their next three possessions.
For the game, Scranton shot just 37 percent from the field, including only 27 percent from the 3-point arc, in posting its second-lowest scoring output of the season.
Babson, on the other hand, overcame its first-half shooting woes by connecting on 52 percent of its attempts in the second half. The Beavers also out-rebounded the Royals, 37-23, and converted nine Scranton turnovers into 12 points.
Danzig’s 12 points move him into third-place on the Royals’ all-time scoring list with 1793, surpassing Zach Ashworth (1786, 2007-2011) and Jack Maher (1789, 1972-1976) along the way. Danzig also finishes his career with 727 rebounds, 386 assists, 127 steals, and 89 blocks.
Tonight’s game was also the last for Royal seniors Justin Klingman (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights) and Michael Fee (Richboro, Pa./St. Joseph’s Preparatory). In 82 games, Klingman scored 708 points and is the Royals’ all-time leader in 3-point field goal accuracy with a .507 career mark. Fee appeared in 46 games over the past four years.
Danzig, Klingman and Fee were part of a senior class that led the Royals to three Landmark Conference championships and three NCAA tournament appearances (’12, ’14, ’15), including a berth in the Elite Eight in 2012.