WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Junior Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) scored a career-high 23 points on Saturday to lead The University of Scranton men's basketball team to a 74-64 victory over Wilkes in the opening game of the Cross County Challenge at King's College.
The Royals, who are off to their best start in nearly three decades, improved to 10-0 on the season, winning their first ten contests of the year for the first time since the 1991-92 campaign, when Scranton won its first 20 contests.
Scranton and Wilkes (8-2) both struggled offensively early in Saturday's contest. The Colonels held an 8-6 edge, their only lead of the contest, just over seven minutes into the game before the Royals used a 15-2 surge to claim a 21-10 advantage with 4:12 remaining in the first half.
Wilkes rallied back to within five points with a 9-3 run, but Scranton would maintain the lead at halftime, 31-25.
DeVerna and sophomore Logan Bailey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) hit back-to-back three pointers to open the second half to push the Royals' lead to 12 points, 37-25. Wilkes pulled back to within seven points before Scranton countered with a 12-2 burst that gave the Royals their largest advantage of the game at 17 points, 49-32, with 13 and a half minutes remaining in regulation.
The Colonels would not go quietly and pulled to within six points over the next 10 minutes, making 65-59 contest with 3:32 showing on the clock, but Wilkes would come no closer as Scranton went 7-for-10 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the victory.
DeVerna, who added eight rebounds to his career and game-high 23 points, went 10-for-20 from the field with a pair of three-pointers to lead four Royals in double-figures.
Freshman Jackson Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) netted 11 points, six rebounds, and a team-high four assists, freshman Jack Brockett (Shamong, N.J./Seneca) tallied 10 points while going a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, and senior Jack Connelly (Ellington, Conn./Ellington) came off the bench to add 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting from the field while making both of his free throw attempts.
DeVerna and fellow junior Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) tied for the team-lead with eight rebounds while Mancuso blocked a pair of shots in the win.
For the game, Scranton shots 46.7 percent from the field, 45 percent from three-point range, and 64.3 percent from the free throw line. The Royals were also plus-four in the turnover department (15-19) while Wilkes held a 41-39 edge in rebounding.
Scranton will face host King's tomorrow to close out the Cross County Challenge. Opening tipoff between the Royals and Monarchs is set for 3 p.m. in Wilkes-Barre.