HUNTINGDON, Pa. – The University of Scranton became just the 10th NCAA Division III men's basketball program with at least 1,500 victories on Saturday as the Royals defeated Juniata, 64-59, earning the milestone win on the road.
Scranton, now 14-3 on the season and 3-3 in Landmark Conference action, joins the list of NCAA Division III men's basketball programs with at least 1,500 wins that includes Wittenberg, Wooster, St. Thomas (Minn.), Illinois Wesleyan, Hope, Westminster (Pa.), Augustana (Ill.), Williams, and Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The Royals are now 1,500-948 in the 102-year history for a .613 winning percentage.
Free-throw shooting proved to be the difference on Saturday for the Royals, who made 28 of 32 attempts from the line, shooting at an 87.5 percent clip with just four missed free throws to overcome a season-low 39 percent shooting from the field.
Junior Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) led Scranton with game-highs of 25 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocked shots. Mancuso, who recorded his seventh double-double in 15 games this season and set a career-high for rebounds, went 15-for-16 from three free throw line tied for the 11th most free throws made in a game in Royals' history. His 15 points from the stripe were also the most since Randy Arnold made 16 against Moravian on December 1, 2007.
Junior Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) was Scranton's only other player in double-figures on Saturday, finishing with 13 points on the day. Freshman Jackson Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) chipped in with nine points and tied with Mancuso for the team-lead in steals with two.
Neither team was able to gain a lead greater than four points in the first 10 minutes of Saturday's contest before Juniata scored seven straight points to claim a 26-20 advantage with six and a half minutes remaining in the opening half. The Eagles led by as many as nine points late in the period before Scranton trimmed its halftime deficit to 36-32 at the break after outscoring the hosts 7-2 in the final 2:46 of the period.
Mancuso scored six straight points early in the second half to give the Royals a 41-39 edge and marked the first of five lead changes and seven ties in the stanza.
Juniata held a five-point lead, 48-43, midway through the period, but Scranton clamped down defensively, limiting the Eagles to just 11 points and four field goals the rest of the way.
Still, it wasn't until the final minute that the Royals were able to take the lead for good. With the scored tied at 59-apiece and 55 seconds showing on the clock, Mancuso put Scranton in front with a layup. The hosts missed a jumper and a pair of free throws following an offensive rebound on their next possession before Mancuso made a pair from the line with 27 seconds left to make it a four-point and, following a pair of Juniata misses from beyond the arc, freshman Ben Bosland (Colts Neck, N.J./Colts Neck) picked up a big steal a made one-of-two from the line to seal the win.
Boland and sophomore Logan Bailey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) tied for a game-high with three assists apiece for the Royals.
Juniata (7-10, 1-5 Landmark) went 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) from the stripe in the loss while converting on 41.8 percent of their attempts from the floor.
Both teams had 32 rebounds in the contest while the Royals claimed a 17-19 edge in the turnover department.
Scranton will return home on Wednesday evening when the Royals welcome Drew to the John Long Center for a Landmark Conference tilt starting at 7 p.m. in the John Long Center.