SCRANTON - Sophomore Jack Brockett (Shamong, N.J./Seneca) led five double-digit scorers with 14 points for The University of Scranton men's basketball team, as the Royals used a late second half rally to get past a tough Catholic team, 71-63, on Saturday in Landmark Conference action in the John Long Center.
With the win, the Royals moved to 16-5 overall and 8-2 in the Landmark Conference to stay in a first place tie in the conference standings with Drew, who won their game over Goucher this afternoon, 89-63, at home.
Catholic fell to 8-13 and 4-6 in the Landmark with the tough defeat.
To begin play Saturday, the Royals got off to a hot start, opening a 17-8 lead on the Cardinals in the first nine minutes of regulation. Catholic, however, quickly got back into the game after an 11-4 run sliced the Royals' lead down to 21-19 with 9:23 to go in the first half.
From there, things remained tight between the squads over a couple of minutes, but Scranton was able to hold the lead the entire time. Up by two (26-24) with six minutes left, the Royals went on an 11-2 run over the next five minutes to take their biggest lead of the day at 37-26 with 1:39 left in the first half.
Catholic was able to score the final six points on regulation, but the Royals still held a lead over the Cardinals entering intermission, as they led it, 37-32, at the break.
Out of the half, the Cardinals continued their scoring run, as they scored the first five points of the period to tie the game back up at 37-all. Once Catholic tied the game up, it remained close between the teams for the majority of the second half, with the lead trading hands on multiple occasions.
The game came to a head with 5:53 to go, as Catholic took a four-point lead on Scranton after two made free throws at 56-52. On their next possession, sophomore Jackson Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) made a huge three to cut the Catholic lead down to one at 56-55.
After a stop on defense, senior Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) was fouled and nailed two free throws, giving Scranton the lead back at 57-56. With 4:10 left, the Royals forced another Catholic miss, and on the next trip down the floor, senior Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) went over the Catholic defense and slammed one home to put the Royals up 59-56 with 3:59 to go.
After another stop and two made free throws by Mancuso, the Royals completed a 9-0 run to go up, 61-56, with 3:26 to go. Catholic, however, scored four straight to slice the Royals' lead down to one (61-60) with 2:24 to go.
On Scranton's next trip down the floor, DeVerna made a dagger, as his three-pointer put the Royals up for good at 64-60 with 2:09 to go. From there, Scranton continued to play solid defense and salt the game away at the free throw line, eventually taking an insurmountable 67-60 lead with 47 seconds left that Catholic could not come back from.
Overall, Brockett led the Royals in the scoring column in the win, scoring a season-high 14 points after nailing four three-pointers in eight attempts. He also dished out four assists in the victory, as well.
Elsewhere, DeVerna finished with 12 points, four assists and two steals, while three players scored 10 points, apiece, Mancuso, Danzig, and freshman Stephen Braunstein (Colts Neck, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy), who came off the Royals' bench. Danzig cleaned up on the glass in the win with a team-high six rebounds to go along with four assists, while Mancuso had five rebounds overall.
Catholic was led in the defeat by Justin Pryor, who scored a game-high 15 points.
The University of Scranton men's basketball team returns to action on Wednesday, traveling to Moravian for a Landmark Conference road contest. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.