SELINSGROVE, Pa. - Junior guard Logan Bailey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) scored a team-best 24 points, but it wasn't enough, as host Susquehanna held off a late rally by The University of Scranton men's basketball team to take a 75-73 victory in a big Landmark Conference showdown on Wednesday night.
With the defeat, the Royals dropped to 12-4 overall and 4-1 in the Landmark Conference, while Susquehanna improved to 12-4 and remained unbeaten in the Landmark with the win at 5-0.
From the opening tip, the game was close between the Royals and River Hawks, as the contest between the lone undefeated teams in Landmark Conference play on the year lived up to the hype from the get-go.
Early on, Susquehanna opened a big lead on Scranton at 14-7 in the first four minutes of play, but the Royals battled back to take the lead back at 20-18 with 12 minutes to go in the opening frame after a 13-4 run.
Over the next few minutes, the lead swung back and forth between the teams, but Susquehanna took control of the contest late in the first half, eventually opening their biggest lead of the game at 38-30 with three minutes left in the frame. That eight-point lead would hold the rest of the period, as the River Hawks went into intermission with a 43-35 lead over the Royals.
However, Scranton grabbed some momentum back to start the second half, as they quickly sliced the Susquehanna lead to two points (43-41) after six quick points in the first two minutes of play. But, after a timeout, the River Hawks held off the charge, going back up by five after a three-pointer.
That would be a familiar theme for Scranton throughout the second half, as each time they made a run at the Susquehanna lead, the River Hawks would extinguish the threat.
On several occasions throughout the period, Scranton even cut the River Hawks lead down to a single point, the last coming with 6:31 to go as a made jumper by senior Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) slice the Susquehanna lead to 63-62. But, once again, the River Hawks went on a run, as a 5-0 run made it a 68-62 game with four minutes left.
From there, Scranton was unable to fully make the comeback but did make things interesting in the final moments of regulation after Bailey made a jumper that cut the Susquehanna lead to two points with seven seconds left (75-73). On the next Susquehanna possession, the River Hawks turned it over, giving the Royals one last chance.
But, a Scranton turnover with a second left ended the game, as Susquehanna escaped a furious comeback bid by the Royals to take a two-point home victory.
Overall, Bailey led the way once again for Scranton with his 24-point evening on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor. It marked the fourth time on the year that Bailey has scored at least 20 in a game, while the junior hit double-figures in the scoring column for the 10th time on the year.
Elsewhere, senior Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) added 13 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Jackson Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) had 12 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Mancuso scored nine points, but pulled down 12 rebounds in a losing effort, while also recording three steals, three assists, and two blocks.
Susquehanna was led in the win by Matt Lacorte, who scored a game-high 26 points.
The University of Scranton men's basketball team returns to action on Saturday, hosting Juniata in a Landmark Conference game in the John Long Center. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.