|John Vitkus||Kyle DeVerna|
|Kevin Doolan||Ethan Danzig|
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Senior center John Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) posted his third double-double in four games and The University of Scranton men's basketball team held off a late rally by King's for a 79-70 victory on the opening day of the Cross-County Challenge at Wilkes University.
The victory keeps Scranton unbeaten in the six-year history of the Cross-County Challenge at 7-0. The Royals will go for 12 straight wins in the event when they take on Wilkes on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Vitkus finished the afternoon with 23 points and 14 rebounds, his third straight double-double. He was 10-for-12 from the field for the game and is now 29-for-39 from the field this season, a sizzling 74.9 percent. He's also averaging 12.0 rebounds per game.
Scranton (4-0) also received a career-high 17 points from freshman guard Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial), including 12 in the first half. Junior guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge) added 12 points, four assists and three rebounds, and fellow junior guard Ethan Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) added 11 points and three assists.
The Royals took a 48-36 lead into the break and led by 13 at 69-56 with 8:10 to play. But King's (3-2) scored 10 straight to cut the Scranton lead to three with 3:47 left. But Doolan and DeVerna combined for six straight free throws – four by Doolan – and Vitkus scored inside as the Royals put the game away with an 8-0 run for a 77-66 lead with 59 seconds left.
Scranton finished the day 27-for-49 from the field (57.1 percent), including seven of 14 from 3-point range. The Royals also made 18 of 25 free throw attempts (72 percent) and held a 29-13 edge in points off the bench. Junior guard Mitch Cross (Marriottsville, Md./Loyola-Blakefield) continued his strong play with eight points in 14 minutes off the bench.
The Royals held King's to 25-for-59 (42.4 percent) from the field, including 7-for-20 (35 percent) from 3-point range. Scranton also turned 13 turnovers by the Monarchs into 19 points.