The University of Scranton men's basketball team turned an ugly back-and-forth game into a blowout by finishing the game on a big run, knocking off Moravian, 68-53, on Wednesday evening in the John Long Center.
The Royals (15-5, 8-4 Landmark) ended the game on a 17-4 run to turn a four-point lead into what looked like an easy victory. It was anything but that, but what mattered most was the victory, which moves Scranton into third place in the Landmark Conference, one game behind first-place Susquehanna (17-2, 8-2), a half-game behind Catholic (15-5, 8-3) and a full game ahead of both Juniata (14-7, 7-5) and Drew (10-11, 7-5).
Senior forward Brendan Boken (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola) led Scranton with 22 points and 10 rebounds, his 11th double-double of the season. His performance came moments after being honored with the John "Les" Dickman Award, which is presented annually to the team's most valuable player. He was also a tri-recipient of the award last season.
Sophomore guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge) finished with 16 pionts, six assists, six rebounds and four steals, and junior forward John Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) had 13 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
The first half featured the two teams combining to shoot 40.8 percent (20-for-49) and commit 22 turnovers. Fittingly, they were tied at 26 heading to the locker room. Scranton scored the first four points of the second half and looked poised to take control of the game, but Moravian (7-12, 2-9) made a trio of 3-pointers to stay close, cutting Scranton's lead to 47-45 with 10:13 to play.
After four straight possessions lead to four points for both teams, Boken scored back-to-back layups to push the Royals ahead, 55-49, with 6:43 to play. The Greyhounds hit a pair of free throws, but it did nothing to slow Scranton's final surge as the Royals scored 13 of the next 14 points to put the game away.
In that game-ending 17-4 run, Scranton made nine of 10 free throws. The Royals finished the second half 19-for-23 from the free throw line, a stark contrast to their 4-for-10 performance in the first half.
Sophomore guard Mitch Cross (Marriottsville, Md./Loyola-Blakefield) gave the Royals a boost with seven points off the bench. Sophomore forward Drew Schankweiler (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) added three points, four rebounds and two blocks in 16 minutes.
Scranton finished the game shooting 45.7 percent (21-for-46), including 3-for-13 from 3-point range. The Royals committed 17 turnovers, but forced 20 by Moravian that included 14 steals. The Royals converted those 20 turnovers into 17 points and outscored the Greyhounds in the paint, 36-16.
Moravian shot just 31.4 percent (16-for-51) from the field, including 7-for-23 from 3-point range. The Greyhounds were 14-for-23 (60.9 percent) from the free throw line and won the rebounding battle, 36-31.
Scranton is back in action on Saturday when the Royals host Juniata at 1 p.m. in the Long Center. Immediately following the game, the University will induct the newest members of its athletics Wall of Fame in an on-court ceremony.
|Senior forward Brendan Boken accepts the Dickman Award
from head coach Carl Danzig.