WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The University of Scranton men's basketball team is making buzzer-beaters almost a routine these days.
After twice making buzzer-beating 3-pointers en route to reaching the Elite Eight in last season's NCAA Tournament, the Royals did it again Thursday night. This time, sophomore guard Ross Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights/Blair Academy, N.J.) drilled a deep pull-up 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Scranton to a 71-68 victory over Wilkes University in the final game of the 2013 Cross County Challenge at the Marts Center on the campus of Wilkes.
Danzig's triple from the left wing came moments after Wilkes had tied the game on a deep 3-pointer of its own by junior guard Chris Shovlin (Kingston, Pa./G.A.R.). But much like last year's Sweet 16 victory over Middlebury College when then-junior guard Travis Farrell (Middletown, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) won the game with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, the Royals quickly inbounded the ball and Danzig raced upcourt before burying the game-winner.
Scranton also used a buzzer-beater to force overtime in a victory over Messiah in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament last season.
The Royals (9-3) erased a four-point deficit early in the second half by going on a 13-0 run to take a 47-38 lead with 13:24 to play. Danzig had five points and junior guard Tommy Morgan (Greenlawn, N.Y./Chaminade) added three in the run.
Wilkes battled back and twice held a one-point lead, the last coming at 61-60 with 3:58 to play. But Scranton responded with four straight points, then held the Colonels off with a bucket by freshman forward Brendan Boken (South Pasadena, Calif./Loyola) with 25 seconds left and two free throws by Danzig sandwiched around a pair of free throws by Wilkes. That set up Shovlin's deep 3 that tied the score at 68 before Danzig's game-winner.
Boken led Scranton with 21 points and 13 rebounds, his second straight double-double and fourth of the season. Danzig finished with 17 points and Morgan added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Royals.
Danzig, who was named Most Valuable Player, and Farrell, who had five points and five rebounds, were named to the 2013 Cross County Challenge All-Tournament Team. The victory improved Scranton to 4-0 over the past two years since the Cross County Challenge began.
The Royals shot 43.8 percent (21-for-48) for the game while making 23 of 28 (82.1 percent) from the free throw line. They won the rebounding battle, 38-26.
Shovlin led all scored with 35 points for Wilkes (6-5), including 6-for-10 from 3-point range.
Scranton returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 5, when it travels to Huntingdon, Pa. to face Juniata College in a Landmark Conference matchup at 4 p.m.