Men's Basketball Has Sights On Seventh Landmark Conference Crown

Junior guard Kevin Doolan and the Royals will host Moravian in the Landmark Conference championship game on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Long Center.
Junior guard Kevin Doolan and the Royals will host Moravian in the Landmark Conference championship game on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Long Center.

The University of Scranton men's basketball team is no stranger to playing in the Landmark Conference championship. On Saturday, the Royals will make their eighth appearance in the title game in the conference's 10-year history.

Top-seeded Scranton (20-6) hosts second-seeded Moravian (19-7) in the championship game on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the John Long Center. The Royals are seeking their seventh title, having won the crown previously in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Doors will open for the championship game at 3 p.m. Admission is free for all students, faculty and staff of Landmark Conference institutions with proper school ID. Admission for all others is $5 for adults (ages 18-61), $3 for seniors (ages 62 and older) and students (ages 11-17) and free for children 10 and younger.

The Royals advanced to the championship game with a hard-fought 75-68 win over fourth-seeded Catholic in the Long Center on Wednesday. Junior guard Ethan Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) led the way with 20 points and six rebounds, junior guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge) had a big second half on his way to 15 points and six assists, and senior center John Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) added 14 points.

Moravian led almost the entire way in an 81-69 win over third-seeded and 17th-ranked Susquehanna in Wednesday night's other semifinal. Senior forward Brandon McGuire (Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge) had 27 points and 12 rebounds, senior guard Sean Hanna (Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge) scored 20 points, and sophomore guard Jimmy Murray (Plymouth Meeting, Pa./Plymouth-Whitemarsh) added 14 points.

The teams split the regular season matchups, each winning on the other's home floor. Moravian took the first game, 78-64, on Jan. 18 in the Long Center, using an impressive shooting performance. The Greyhounds made 12 of 16 3-point attempts for the game and shot 56.5 percent from the field in the second half. McGuire led four Moravian players in double figures with 20 points. Vitkus had 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead Scranton.

Scranton got revenge with a 69-61 victory in Bethlehem, Pa. on Feb. 1. Scranton won the rematch by shooting 56.3 percent (27-for-48) from the field while holding Moravian to 45.8 percent (22-for-48). The Royals scored 40 points in the paint and committed just nine turnovers. Vitkus went 9-for-12 from the field en route to a game-high 23 points for Scranton. Murray had a team-high 16 points for Moravian.

This is the third meeting between Scranton and Moravian in Landmark Conference playoff history. The first came in a semi on Feb. 27, 2008, when Scranton pulled out a 79-78 win on the road. The sec­ond was on Feb. 22, 2012, when the Royals scored an 82-70 semifinal win in the Long Center.

The winner of Saturday's championship game receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. The field will be announced on Monday at 12:30 p.m. and first-round play begins on Friday, March 3.