Trailing by 13 with a little more than four minutes to play in the first half, University of Scranton men's basketball coach Carl Danzig called timeout for the second time in less than a minute. His team responded, scoring the next 12 points and then pulling away in the second half for a season-opening 78-63 win over Penn State-Berks in the opening round of the Hilton Scranton Invitational in the Long Center.
The Royals (1-0) found themselves trailing 34-21 with 4:06 left in the first half when Danzig called the second of those nearly consecutive timeouts. The Lions (0-2) had just drilled four straight 3-pointers in a span of three minutes to turn a one-point game into a 13-point lead.
But senior guard Ethan Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) scored seven points and fellow senior guard Mitch Cross (Marriottsville, Md./Loyola-Blakefield) buried a 3-pointer just before half as part of a 12-0 run that left the Royals trailing 34-33 at the break.
The second half was nearly all Scranton as the Royals shot 58.1 percent (18-for-31) and scored 26 points in the paint over the final 20 minutes.
Danzig and senior guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge) led the Royals with 17 points each. Fourteen of Doolan's points came in the second half as he went 5-for-6 from the field. He finished the night with six assists and four steals. Danzig added five rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
Sophomore guard Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) finished with 14 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals, and Cross added 10 points off the bench. Senior forward Drew Schankweiler (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) was solid in the middle, scoring 10 points, pulling down eight rebounds and adding two blocks, two steals and an assist.
Scranton finished the night shooting 43.1 percent (28-for-65) from the field, including 7-for-26 (26.9 percent) from 3-point range. The Royals made 15 of 20 free throws (75 percent) and committed just 12 turnovers while forcing 24, which led to a 31-13 edge in points off turnovers. PSU-Berks held a slim 34-33 edge on the glass.
The Royals will face York in the championship game of the Hilton Scranton Invitational on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Long Center. The Spartans reached the title game with a 101-89 win over Pitt.-Bradford in the first game on Friday night. Pitt.-Bradford and PSU-Berks will meet in the third-place game on Saturday at 3 p.m.