A nip-and-tuck game between Juniata and The University of Scranton men's basketball team on Saturday came down to the final minutes. In the end, Juniata used a late 3-pointer and hot free throw shooting to hand the Royals a 74-71 loss in the Long Center.
The defeat drops Scranton (10-11, 6-4 Landmark) into a tie for fourth place with Catholic (12-9, 6-4) with four games remaining.
With the score tied at 67, Marcus Lee buried a 3-pointer for Juniata (18-3, 7-3 Landmark) with 1:08 remaining. The Eagles then hit five of six at the line to keep the Royals at bay despite Scranton answering on the offensive end each time.
The Eagles finally missed the front end of a one-plus-one situation with 12 seconds left and the Royals secured the rebound trailing 74-71. But a long-distance 3-pointer to tie was off the mark and the Eagles grabbed the rebound as time expired.
Scranton was led by senior forward Drew Schankweiler (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg), who had his eighth double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He also had two steals and two assists.
Sophomore forward Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) also had 18 points along with four rebounds, four assists and a steal. Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) finished with 12 points, five rebounds and a block, and senior guard Ethan Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) added 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
The Royals finished the game 26-for-48 (54.2 percent) from the field, including 8-for-22 (36.4 percent) from 3-point range. They hit 11 of 13 free throws and won the rebounding battle, 32-21.
Juniata was led by Lee, who had a game-high 23 points. Seth Brewer added 13 and Damon Rickens had 11. The Eagles shot 49.1 percent (28-for-57) from the field, including 6-for-12 from 3-point range. They also made 12 of 13 at the free throw line and forced Scranton into 20 turnovers, which led to a 23-4 edge in points off turnovers. Juniata committed just six turnovers of its own.
Prior to tip-off, The University of Scranton honored the Royals' five seniors as part of Senior Day festivities -- Schankweiler, Danzig, guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge), guard Mitch Cross (Marriottsville, Md./Loyola-Blakefield) and guard Chris McCullough (Greenlawn, N.Y./Harborfields).
The University of Scranton men's basketball team will return to actiono on Wednesday, Feb. 7, when the Royals travel to Madison, N.J. to take on Drew at 7 p.m.