FEBRUARY 11, 2017
KING'S MEN'S CAGERS DROP HOME FINALE TO DESALES, 77-65
WILKES-BARRE — The visiting DeSales University men's basketball team built a 44-35 lead at the half and never trailed during the final 20 minutes to post a 77-65 Freedom Conference victory over host King's College Saturday in Scandlon Gymnasium.
With the win, King's slipped to 5-18 overall and 1-11 in Freedom Conference play. DeSales, meanwhile, improved to 17-6 and 9-3. The game also signified the final home game for Monarch seniors Dan Rutecki, John Fazzini, Derek Wilkins, John Dini, and Nate Oliver, while junior Sean O'Brien also played his final game due to his impending transfer to Notre Dame to continue his Engineering degree as part of a transfer agreement between the two schools
With King's coach J.P. Andrejko starting five seniors, only two who typically start, the Monarchs began the game slowly and fell behind 32-14 with 7:42 left in the opening half. But King's found a rhythm and began to slowly chip away. KIng's cut the score to 36-26 on a short jumper by Andrew Hudak with 4:35 on the clock. After a DeSales turnoverm Connor Callejas and Dan Rutecki combined for four straight foul shots to trim the lead to 36-30 at the 3:54 mark. The Monarchs then forced a Bulldog turnover which Jake Barber converted into a driving lay-up to bring King's within 36-32 with 3:22 remaining to cap a 18-4 run over a 4:22 span.
DeSales, however, would regroup and managed a 44-35 lead when Brian Laird scored a critical bucket on a driving lay-up just before the buzzer sounded to give the Bulldogs momentum.
King's hung around in the second half but could never make a dent in the DeSales lead. The Monarchs stayed within double-figures until the 11:36 mark when Brandon Bridy scored inside to give the Bulldogs a 59-49 lead. King's would come no closer the rest of the way as DeSales built the lead up to 14 points on six different occasions the rest of the way.
Callejas led KIng's with 15 points and three rebounds while Rutecki added 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Barber and Hudak tallied eight points each while Wilkins posted seven. The Monarchs shot just 32.8 (20-61) percent for the game and were unable to take advantage of a clean game in which KIng's committed a season-low five turnovers.
For DeSales, Laird registered 14 points on four three-pointers while Ryan Callahan folioed with 13 points and four blocked shots. Conor Jones added 12 points while Luke Connaghan chipped in with nine points.
King's returns to action Tuesday night with an 8:00 PM matchup at cross-town rival Wilkes in the Marts Center.