Royals Use Big Second Half, Impressive Board Work To Win Landmark Opener

Junior guard Ethan Danzig had a game-high 25 points in the Royals' win over Juniata on Saturday.
Junior guard Ethan Danzig had a game-high 25 points in the Royals' win over Juniata on Saturday.

Ethan Danzig John Vitkus

Kyle DeVerna Kevin Doolan

Box score

The University of Scranton men's basketball team turned in an impressive second half and achieved an incredible rebounding feat in a 78-61 victory over Juniata in the Landmark Conference opener for both teams in the Long Center on Saturday afternoon.

Scranton (6-1, 1-0 Landmark) used a 13-2 run early in the second half to turn a two-point halftime lead into a 49-37 advantage with 13:51 remaining. Junior guard Ethan Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) started and finished the run with 3-pointers, and fellow junior guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge) had five points in the spurt. Juniata (3-2, 0-1 Landmark) got no closer than eight points the rest of the way.

While it was the second-half run the secured the game for the Royals, their work on the boards cannot be overlooked. They held a 34-25 edge in rebounding, but more impressively, they did not allow Juniata to secure a single offensive rebound. It's the first time in head coach Carl Danzig's 15-plus years that the Royals have not allowed an offensive board, and it's the only game on record in school history. However, offensive rebound statistics do not exist prior to the 1981-82 season, leaving 64 seasons of Scranton basketball with no offensive rebound statistics. But, at the very least, the Royals tied a school record and quite possibly set one with the feat.

The previous low for offensive rebounds allowed since the 1981-82 season is two, which happened four times. The most recent came on Nov. 21, 2009 in a 96-48 win over Bard in the Long Center.

Danzig led the Royals with 25 points, including a season-high seven 3-pointers. Senior center John Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) had 19 points and 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Freshman guard Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) finished with 14 points (all in the second half) and three assists, and Doolan had 11 points, seven assists and four steals without a turnover. Junior forward Drew Schankweiler (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) also had a solid game with seven points, six rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block.

Scranton finished the afternoon shooting 48.4 percent (30-for-62) from the field, including 10-for-27 from 3-point range. The Royals hit 18 of 31 (58.1 percent) from the field in the second half, including 5-for-6 from DeVerna. Scranton also hit eight of 11 free throws while not allowing a single free throw attempt by the Eagles.

Juniata shot 52.8 percent (28-for-53) from the field, but had 12 turnovers to just 11 assists. That helped Scranton build a 16-11 edge in points off turnovers, including 11-2 in the second half. The Royals also had an 11-0 edge in second-chance points and 16-6 in bench points.

The Royals will now take a week off from competition for final exams. They will return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 13, when they travel to Glenside, Pa. to take on Arcadia at 7 p.m.