There's a belief that things really get interesting in Landmark Conference basketball when the calendar turns to February. If that's really the case, The University of Scranton men's basketball team has put itself in great position as we turn the page from January in a few days.
The Royals were impressive on both ends of the court on Saturday in an 81-48 thrashing of Elizabethtown in the Long Center. The win was Scranton's third straight and moves them into a first-place tie with Susquehanna and Moravian with six games remaining.
Scranton (14-5, 6-2 Landmark) shot 62.7 percent (32-for-51) from the field, the second-best shooting performance by the Royals this season. They made 10 of 22 (45.5 percent) from 3-point range and seven of nine from the free throw line.
Senior center John Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) had another strong game with a team-high 18 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists. He finished 8-for-8 from the field and has now scored in double figures in 15 straight games and 17 of 19 this season.
Junior guard Ethan Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) drilled five 3-pointers en route to 15 points. It was the fifth game this season Danzig has made at least five 3-pointers, and over the past five games, he is 20-for-37 (54.1 percent) from long range. Junior forward Drew Schankweiler (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) and freshman guard Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) both added 10 points.
The Royals also got nine points and two assists from junior guard Mitch Cross (Marriottsville, Md./Loyola-Blakefield), and seven points, five assists and two steals from junior guard Chris McCullough (Harborfields, N.Y./Greenlawn), who has now hit at least one 3-pointer in each of the last eight games.
Scranton held a 42-28 edge in points in the paint and scored 23 points off 18 turnovers by Elizabethtown (4-14, 1-7 Landmark). The Royals also had a 13-2 edge in fast break points.
The Blue Jays shot 40.8 percent (20-for-49) from the field, including 2-for-11 from 3-point range. Each team finished with 24 rebounds.
The Royals will return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 1, when they go on the road to face Moravian in a key Landmark Conference matchup at 7 p.m. in Bethlehem, Pa.