Junior guard Chris McCullough (Greenlawn, N.Y./Harborfields) scored a driving layup with three seconds to play to lift The University of Scranton men's basketball team past Cabrini, 76-75, in a back-and-forth game in the Long Center on Tuesday night.
Cabrini took a 75-74 lead on a 3-pointer by junior forward Deryl Bagwell (Philadelphia, Pa./Imhotep Charter) with 13 seconds left, but the Royals quickly inbounded the ball and raced upcourt. Junior guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge) found McCullough on the left wing and he drove baseline. His floating layup tickled the rim twice before dropping through, and the Cavaliers could manage only a halfcourt heave at the buzzer that was well off the mark.
It was the second game-winning bucket in the closing seconds of McCullough's career. He also hit a driving layup on the left side with one second left to give the Royals a 69-68 victory at Moravian on Jan. 20, 2016 last season.
Junior guard Ethan Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) scored a game-high 25 points to go along with six rebounds, four steals, two assists and a block to lead the Royals. He has had Cabrini's number in his career, having scored 31 points against the Cavaliers in last season's 94-73 win on Feb. 15 in Radnor, Pa.
Senior center John Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) had his second straight double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds while also blocking six shots and handing out one assist. Junior guard Mitch Cross (Marriottsville, Md./Loyola-Blakefield) added a career-high 14 points, including four 3-pointers, in 22 minutes off the bench, and Doolan had nine points and a career-high-tying nine assists in the win.
McCullough's game-winner capped a frenzied second half after Scranton (3-0) took a 44-31 halftime lead. The Royals still led by 12 at 50-38 with 16:07 to play before Cabrini (2-2) went on a 29-9 run to take a 67-59 lead with 6:58 to play.
Vitkus scored four straight points to start the Royals' comeback, but the Cavaliers made a free throw and a layup around a Doolan bucket to lead by five, 70-65, with 4:26 to play. Cross then scored five straight, getting free inside to score on a feed by Doolan, then burying a huge 3-pointer from the right wing to tie the game at 70 with 2:34 left.
Cabrini got three shots on its next possession – one was blocked out of bounds by Vitkus – but still came up empty, and when Vitkus got free underneath for a dunk on a feed from Danzig, the Royals had a 72-70 lead with 1:46 left. Cabrini answered with a jumper by junior forward Tyheim Monroe (Philadelphia, Pa./Olney Charter), but Doolan matched it with a layup for a 74-72 lead with 1:14 left.
Both teams missed shots inside, setting up Cabrini with possession with 24 seconds left. Monroe got the ball inside and kicked it out to Bagwell, who drilled a 3 from the left corner with 13 seconds left. But McCullough had the final answer for the Royals, who won for the 12th time in 17 matchups all-time against the Cavaliers.
Monroe, who led all of NCAA Division III in rebounding last season, finished with 20 points and 20 rebounds to lead Cabrini.
Scranton will be back in action this weekend in the Cross-County Challenge at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The Royals will take on King's College on Saturday at 1 p.m., then face Wilkes on Sunday at 3 p.m.