The University of Scranton men's basketball team took care of business on Saturday, pulling away from Goucher in the second half for an 85-70 victory in the Long Center on Senior Day. The victory gives the Royals the top seed in next week's Landmark Conference playoffs.
Scranton (19-6, 11-3 Landmark) will host fourth-seeded Catholic (17-8, 9-5) in a semifinal on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. in the Long Center. The other semifinal will feature third-seeded Susquehanna (21-4, 10-3) at second-seeded Moravian (18-7, 11-3) at a time to be determined.
Junior guard Ethan Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) had a game-high 24 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals in the victory. Senior John Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) added 21 points and 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double and 11th of the season.
The game was nip-and-tuck for the first 15 minutes until the Royals used a 7-0 run late in the first half that eventually led to a 43-36 halftime advantage. Vitkus led the first-half charge with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Scranton then put the game away in the second half with an 8-0 run early and a 21-6 run midway through the half, which led to a 81-57 lead with 5:22 remaining. Danzig scored 18 second-half points on six 3-pointers.
Junior guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge) had another tremendous game at the point for Scranton, matching his career high with nine assists while not committing a single turnover. It was his 13th game this season with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3-to-1 or better, and the fifth time in the last six games and 12th game overall in which he has had one or no turnovers.
Junior forward Drew Schankweiler (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) added 10 points in 19 minutes, junior guard Mitch Cross (Marriottsville, Md./Loyola-Blakefield) had nine points on three 3-pointers, and junior guard Chris McCullough (Harborfields, N.Y./Greenlawn) added eight points.
The Royals shot 51.9 percent (28-for-54) from the field, including 13-for-31 (41.9 percent) from 3-point range. Danzig alone was 8-for-12 from 3-point range, a season high for made 3-pointers and one shy of his school record of nine in a single game. Scranton also made 16 of 24 free throws, including a 9-for-13 performance from Vitkus, who was also 6-for-9 from the field.
Scranton also held a 36-27 rebounding edge and committed 12 turnovers while forcing 14.
Goucher (5-20, 2-12 Landmark) shot 44.2 percent (23-for-52) from the field, including 6-for-16 (37.5 percent) from 3-point range. The Gophers hit 18 of 23 free throws (78.3 percent) and had a 20-12 edge in points off turnovers.
Prior to tip-off, the University honored Vitkus and fellow senior P.J. Kelly (Blue Bell, Pa./St. Joseph's Prep) in Senior Day ceremonies. Kelly, who is a student assistant coach this season, was a three-year member of the team who played in 20 games before his career was cut short due to injury.