The University of Scranton got the free throw line often on Wednesday night and took advantage, making 36 free throws to defeat Drew, 79-71, in a Landmark Conference men's basketball battle in the John Long Center.
The Royals (15-3, 4-3 Landmark) tied for their fourth-most free throws made in a game on 51 attempts, which tied for second-most in program history with records dating back to 1979, to deal the Rangers (14-4, 6-1 Landmark) their first deal the visitors their first conference setback of the season, shooting 70.6 percent from the line on the evening.
Junior Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) and sophomore Logan Bailey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) scored 18 points apiece to lead Scranton on the evening with DeVerna adding six rebounds and three assists and Bailey collecting a game-high four steals.
Junior Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) added 15 points to a team-high seven rebounds while dishing out a trio of assists while freshman Jackson Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) also reached double-figures with 12 points.
Drew got off to a strong start, building an 11-3 lead and holding Scranton without a field goal over the first 6:19 of the contest before freshman Jack Brockett (Shamong, N.J./Seneca) hit a three-pointer from the corner to ignite a 19-5 surge by the Royals that gave the hosts a 22-16 advantage with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Scranton maintained the lead for the remainder of the period and stretched it to 33-25 at the break as DeVerna completed a three-point play with 10 seconds remaining in the half.
Drew opened the second half with seven straight points to pull within one before the Royals countered with a key 12-0 burst that pushed their lead to 45-32 with 14:47 remaining in regulation.
Scranton led by as many as 15 points, 55-40, at the 11:33 mark, but the Rangers would not go away quietly, eventually pulling to within six at 71-65 with two and a half minutes left in regulation. The hosts dashed any hopes of a Drew comeback by making the next five points from the free throw.
For the game, the Royals shot 40.8 percent from the field and were 3-for-10 from three-point range. Scranton turned the ball over just 12 times while forcing the Rangers into 18 giveaways.
The Royals, who attempted more free throws (51) than field goals (49) in the contest, recorded their most free throws made in a game since also converting 36 against Moravian on December 4, 2000. The 51 free throw attempts for Scranton were the most since the Royals attempted 51 against Glassboro State (now Rowan) on December 20, 1987.
Scranton will next host Elizabethtown on Saturday in Landmark Conference matchup starting at 4 p.m. in the Long Center.