MADISON, N.J. – The University of Scranton will begin its postseason quest for a Landmark Conference championship on the road next week after dropping a 64-52 decision at conference-leading Drew on Wednesday night. The Royals, who are ranked seventh in the Mid-Atlantic region rankings released earlier on Wednesday, saw its three-game win streak snapped by the Rangers, who clinched a home playoff game with the win.
Drew (19-5, 11-2 Landmark) outscored the Royals (19-5, 8-5 Landmark) 17-5 over the final 8:42 of the contest including a 12-2 burst in the final four and a half minutes of the game to pull away with the 12-point victory.
The four Landmark Conference playoff qualifiers are set as Moravian and Susquehanna join the Royals and Rangers in next weekend's postseason tournament. At best, the Royals can finish in a three-way tie with Susquehanna and Moravian who are both 9-4 in conference play, but the Royals are 1-3 in meetings in games against those opponents versus a 3-1 mark for River Hawks are 3-1 and a 2-2 record for the Greyhounds.
Freshman Jackson Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) led Scranton with 17 points, four assists, and three blocked shots on Wednesday night while junior Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) totaled 15 points and eight rebounds.
Sophomore Logan Bailey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) added 12 points and two steals while sophomore Nolan Genasevich (Sugarloaf, Pa./Home School) pulled down a career and team-high nine rebounds to go along with a pair of blocks.
Scranton scored the first six points of Wednesday's game for the largest lead of a first half that saw 13 lead changes and five times. The two teams stayed within a single possession of one another over the final 19 minutes of the stanza before the Rangers took a 32-29 edge into halftime after closing the frame with back-to-back field goals.
Drew opened the second half with a three-pointer, but the Royals pushed back to take a 43-41 lead on a trey from freshman Ben Bosland (Colts Neck, N.J./Colts Neck) at the 12:43 mark. The two sides went bucket-for-bucket over the next four minutes resulting in a 47-47 score with 8:42 remaining.
The Rangers countered with the next five points before Mancuso hit the backend of a pair of free throws and followed with a lay-in to cut Scranton's deficit to 52-50 at the 4:34 mark.
Drew hit a three-pointer on its next possession and, following a layup by junior Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) with 3:39 remaining, held the Royals scoreless the rest of the way while tacking on the final nine points of the game.
The Rangers shot 35.8 percent from the field for the game while going 36.8 percent from three-point range. The hosts also forced Scranton into 24 turnovers while giving the ball away just 10 times themselves.
The Royals, who held a 40-35 advantage on the glass, shot 43.5 percent from the field including a 35.3 percent effort from long range in their lowest offensive output of the season.
Scranton closes out the regular season on Saturday with a Landmark Conference tilt at Goucher starting at 4 p.m.