Royals Continue Late-Game Heroics With Thrilling 81-77 Victory At Moravian To Gain Top Seed In Conference Playoffs
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – In a season full of thrilling nip-and-tuck victories, The University of Scranton men's basketball team pulled out another heart-stopper on Saturday evening to clinch the top seed in the upcoming Landmark Conference playoffs.
Freshman guard Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy, N.J.) had a career-high 28 points, including a clutch offensive rebound and putback in the final minutes, as Scranton defeated Moravian College, 81-77, in Johnston Hall.
The victory improves the Royals to 18-7 overall and 11-3 in the Landmark Conference, good for the top seed in the upcoming Landmark Conference playoffs. Scranton will host Moravian on Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Long Center at a time to be determined.
Senior forward Luke Hawk (Audubon, Pa./Methacton) added 18 points and sophomore guard Tommy Morgan (Greenlawn, N.Y./Chaminade) had 13 for the Royals. Danzig also had a team-high nine rebounds and three steals.
Scranton trailed by six at halftime, 40-34, and still found itself facing a 74-69 deficit with 4:26 to play. On Scranton's ensuing possession, Greyhounds senior forward Jeff Cullinan (Bridgewater, N.J./Immaculata) committed his fifth foul and was forced to leave the game with 32 points and 10 rebounds. Moravian would score just three more points the rest of the way.
After Cullinan's fifth foul, the Royals went on a 5-0 spurt to pull event at 74 with 2:49 to play. Moravian took a brief lead on a layup by senior forward Marcus Hardy (Hanover, Pa./Southwestern) with 2:23 to play, but the Greyhounds missed their final three shots, all from beyond the arc.
Danzig found Hawk underneath for a layup on the Royals' next possession, and after they rebounded a Moravian miss, Danzig followed a missed shot for a bucket underneath to give Scranton a 78-76 lead with 1:12 left. The Royals forced a turnover on Moravian's next possession, and junior guard Travis Farrell (Middletown, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) hit three free throws in the final 25 seconds to seal the victory.
The Royals held Moravian to just 1-for-5 shooting in the final 3:11 after they had made 22 of 46 (47.8 percent) before that closing span. Scranton shot 15-for-26 (57.7 percent) from the floor in the second half. The Royals also had just eight turnovers while scoring 22 points off 13 Moravian turnovers.
Scranton has now won at least 11 games in Landmark Conference play in each of the past four seasons. The Royals have also been the top seed in the Landmark Conference playoffs in three of the five seasons since the conference formed starting with the 2007-08 season.
The Greyhounds fell to 12-13 overall and 7-7 in the Landmark Conference. They were led by senior forward Jeff Cullinan (Bridgewater, N.J./Immaculata), who had a double-double with a game-high 32 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard D.J. Strayhorn (Swiftwater, Pa./Pocono Mountain West) added 17 points and five assists.
The other Landmark Conference semifinal will pit Juniata and Susquehanna on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at a site and time to be determined. The semifinal winners will play for the Landmark Conference championship on Saturday, Feb. 25, at the site of the higher seed.