|Jackson Danzig||Jack Brockett|
|Matthew Mancuso||Kyle DeVerna|
SCRANTON - Sophomore Jackson Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) led four double-digit scorers with 16 points, as The University of Scranton men's basketball team gutted out a tough 66-62 victory in overtime over Susquehanna on Wednesday night in the John Long Center.
The win was a big one for the Royals, as it put Scranton back in first place in the Landmark Conference at 15-5 overall and 7-2 in conference play (the Royals are tied with Drew, who they defeated earlier in the season). Susquehanna dropped to 13-7 and 6-3 in the Landmark with the tough loss.
To start the night, offense was at an absolute premium in the first half, as Scranton was blanked from outside the arc (with Susquehanna making just one three). Susquehanna held a lead for the majority of the first half, with the River Hawks holding a 27-17 lead entering intermission.
Out of the break, however, the Scranton offense finally came to life.
After Susquehanna took their biggest lead of the game at 32-19 a few minutes into the second half, the Royals exploded on a 17-4 run to tie things up at 36-all with 12:36 left. The run was capped off by a Danzig made three, as the Royals finally began to knock down shots from outside the arc.
Following a made free throw that gave the Royals their first lead of the game at 37-36, the lead swung back and forth the rest of regulation. But, with five minutes left, Susquehanna appeared to grab momentum away from Scranton after nailing a three with 5:17 to go to open a 50-45 lead on the Royals.
But, Scranton clawed their way back, scoring four in a row to cut the Susquehanna lead down to 50-49 with three minutes left. After a made jumper by the River Hawks brought the Susquehanna lead back to three points (52-49), the Royals then scored three straight from the charity stripe to tie the game back up at 52-52 with 1:08 left.
The final minute of regulation saw both the River Hawks and Royals miss chances to take the lead, as the Royals' were the last to take a crack at a win, only to see a last-second shot clank out, sending the game to overtime knotted up at 52-all.
In their first extra frame of the entire season, a gritty Scranton team was up to the challenge right from the start.
17 seconds into the overtime, sophomore Jack Brockett (Shamong, N.J./Seneca) made a huge three to give the Royals a 55-52 lead. Then, after a Susquehanna miss, senior Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) converted on the offensive end to give the Royals a 57-52 lead 46 seconds into overtime.
After a made jumper by Susquehanna, senior Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) made the biggest shot of the game, nailing a three with 2:45 left to give the Royals a six-point edge at 60-54.
The Royals would not lose the lead the rest of the way, but Susquehanna sure made things interesting with 16 seconds left after slicing the Scranton lead down to two points for the second time in the final minute at 64-62.
After being fouled, Mancuso made his first free throw attempt to make it a 65-62 game with 13 seconds left. But, Mancuso missed the second, causing a wild run for the loose ball rebound.
But, the senior forward made the play of the game on the sequence, eventually securing the offensive board. From there, freshman Stephen Braunstein (Colts Neck, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) was fouled and made one free throw to seal the game for Scranton.
Overall, Danzig ignited the Royals in the second half, nailing a trio of three's in the final stanza on his way to a 17-point evening. Shooting 6-of-10 from the floor, Danzig also pulled down six rebounds, dished out four assists, and had two blocks in the win.
Brockett, meanwhile, scored 13 points, matching a season-high. The sophomore, who made three three-pointers and shot 5-of-8 from the floor, also pulled down five rebounds. Elsewhere, the senior duo of Mancuso and DeVerna had 12 points and five rebounds, apiece. Mancuso also had three assists and three steals in the victory, as well.
Susquehanna was led in a losing effort by three players (Matt Lacorte, Danny Frauenheim and Byrce Butler), who all scored 12 points apiece.
The University of Scranton men's basketball team returns to action on Saturday, hosting Landmark Conference rival Catholic. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. in the John Long Center.