|Logan Bailey||Matthew Mancuso||Jackson Danzig|
MADISON, N.J. - Junior Logan Bailey (Scranton, Pa./ Scranton Prep) picked the right time to put together one of the best games of his career on Wednesday evening, as he poured in a season-high 31 points to lead the third-seeded University of Scranton men's basketball team to a 93-81 win at second-seeded Drew in the 2020 Landmark Conference Semifinals.
With the win, Scranton (now 19-7) will move on to the 2020 Landmark Conference Championship Game, which will be played at top-seeded Susquehanna on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The River Hawks (also 19-7) blew out fourth-seeded Moravian, 76-43, in the other semifinal Wednesday.
Out of the gates, Scranton came out on an absolute tear, taking a 17-6 lead in the first four minutes after making their first three three-point attempts from the floor. The hits kept coming from Scranton over the next few minutes, as they opened a 21-9 lead on the Rangers with 14 minutes left in the half.
The run continued even further for Scranton over the next few minutes and after Bailey nailed another three with 12:30 left in the first half, the Royals found themselves up, 30-14, on a shocked Drew team.
With under 10 minutes to go in the first half and up 15 (37-22), Scranton saw Drew slowly get back into the game, as a 9-0 run sliced the Royals' lead down to 37-31 with 7:29 left in the period. Scranton, however, seemingly extinguished the threat, going back up double-digits, 43-33, with three minutes left in the first half after a 6-2 spurt.
But, the Rangers ended the first half strong, as a 16-6 rally tied the game up for the first time all half with 38 seconds left in the period at 49-all. The Royals, however, got the last laugh in a wild first period, as after a made free throw they took a 50-49 lead into intermission.
The beginning of the second half saw the game remain tight, with the lead swinging back and forth on numerous occasions. Everything, however, came to a head on the night with under 10 minutes left with things knotted up at 67-all.
First, Scranton scored back-to-back baskets to go up four at 71-67. It didn't seem like it at the time, but once the Royals grabbed a lead back from the Rangers, they never let it up the rest of the evening, as after taking a 75-71 edge with seven minutes left, Scranton went on a back-breaking 6-0 run to put them up, 81-71, with five minutes to go.
Once the Royals went back up double-digits, they never looked back, eventually extending their lead out to 87-73 with 3:29 left, a deficit that was far too much for the host Rangers to come back from. Over the final minute, Scranton salted the game away at the charity stripe to collect a thrilling 12-point victory at Drew, their second double-digit victory in Madison on the 2019-20 season.
Overall, Bailey was fantastic all night for Scranton, putting together the second 30-plus point scoring game of his career with his 31-point evening. Bailey, who shot 12-of 19 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line, also had six rebounds, six assists and two steals in the big victory for Scranton.
The 31-point evening for Bailey was also tied for fifth-best ever in a conference playoff game in program history, matching him with performances by Zach Ashworth vs. Catholic in the 2011 Landmark Playoffs and J.P. Andrejko vs FDU-Florham in the 1988 MAC Freedom Playoffs. His 12 made field goals were also tied for seventh-best ever a conference playoff game, all-time.
Elsewhere, senior Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) had another double-double for Scranton, finishing with 24 points and 10 rebounds to collect his 14th double-double on the year and third straight overall. Mancuso also had five assists in the win.
Rounding out the double-digit scorers for the Royals was sophomore Jackson Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights), who did a little bit of everything with 18 points, six rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks. Danzig also nailed four three-pointers in the victory, the most for anyone on the team.
The offensive output by Scranton in the win was historic, as the Royals shot a staggering 57.1 percent from the floor to tally the most points ever in a conference tournament game in program history (84 games), besting a 92 point outburst against Albright in the 1998 MAC Freedom Semifinals (a 92-91 win for Scranton).
Drew (who finished with a 20-6 mark with the loss) was led by guard Riley Collins, who finished with 21 points.
Scranton will now set their sights on Susquehanna on Saturday, where the Royals will shoot for their eighth Landmark Conference title (and 25th all-time) in Selinsgrove. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
More information on the 2020 Landmark Conference title game will be posted on athletics.scranton.edu as it becomes available.