WASHINGTON, D.C. – The University of Scranton men's basketball team used a late, 12-2 run at Catholic on Saturday on their way to a key, 63-61 Landmark Conference victory. The Royals, who held the Cardinals to just five points in the final five and a half minutes of the contest, improve to 17-4 on the season and 6-4 in conference play with the win.
After completing the regular season sweep of Catholic (8-13, 4-6 Landmark) on Saturday, Scranton retains sole possession of fourth place in the Landmark Conference standings, one game behind third place Susquehanna and two behind conference leaders Drew and Moravian. The Royals are two games ahead of the Cardinals and Elizabethtown in the race for the fourth and final playoff spot.
Sophomore Logan Bailey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) led Scranton with 17 points on Saturday while juniors Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) and Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) netted 11 points apiece for the Royals.
Catholic built a seven-point lead over the first seven minutes of a low-scoring first half on Saturday and led by as many as 10 points before Scranton netted the final six points of the period to cut its deficit to 30-26 at halftime.
After the break, freshman Jack Brockett (Shamong, N.J./Seneca) gave the Royals their first lead since the early minutes of the game with a three-point play at the 16:27 mark, starting a see-saw run over the next 11 minutes saw that lead change hands eight times.
The Cardinals held a 56-50 advantage with 5:30 left on the clock before Scranton rattled off 10 straight points highlighted by back-to-back treys from freshman Jackson Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) to take a 60-56 lead with 3:03 remaining.
A pair of free throws brought the hosts to within two points before DeVerna answered with a field goal at the other end to put Scranton's lead at 62-58 with 1:39 left. Catholic made it a one point game with a three-pointer on its next trip down the floor before Mancuso made the backend of a pair of free throws at the 1:01 mark to give the Royals a 63-61 advantage.
That would mark the end of the scoring as Scranton forced the Cardinals to miss their final two shots including a potential game-tying jumper at the buzzer.
Mancuso added a team-high nine rebounds and a game-high three blocks to his 11 points for Scranton, which shot 35.7 percent from the field for the game while going 85.7 percent from the free throw line.
Danzig finished with nine points and a game-high four assists while Brockett added eight points on the day.
The Royals won despite a season-low offensive output thanks to a strong defensive performance in which the visitors limited Catholic to 35.7 percent shooting while finishing plus-four (10-14) in the turnover department.
Scranton returns home on Wednesday night to take on Moravian in a Landmark Conference tilt starting at 7 p.m. in the John Long Center.