SCRANTON - Sophomore Jackson Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) led a balanced attack with a game-high 14 points, as The University of Scranton men's basketball team pulled away from visiting Houghton early in the second half to take an 89-69 victory as part of the 2019 Hilton Scranton Invitational on Friday night in the John Long Center.
With the win, Scranton improved to 2-0 overall, while Houghton fell to 1-1 with the defeat.
To open the contest, things were tight between the Highlanders and the Royals, as a fast paced first 12 minutes of action ended with the Royals holding a slim 24-23 lead. Up 28-25 with seven minutes left, Scranton went on a mini spurt (6-0) that was ended by a Danzig lay-in with 5:33 left that gave the Royals their biggest lead of the game at 34-25.
From there in the opening half, Scranton was able to keep Houghton at bay, eventually opening a double-digit lead (42-31) with 1:53 to go. That double-digit lead held into intermission, as the Royals went into the break up, 44-33, on the visiting Highlanders.
To open the second half, Scranton put the game away for the night with a big run.
After Houghton opened the half with a basket to make it 44-35, the Royals went on a 9-2 spurt to open a 55-37 lead three minutes into the second half. Eventually, Scranton went up 20 (60-40) four and a half minutes into the period, a deficit that was too much for Houghton to come back from the rest of the night.
As the half wore along, Scranton ballooned their lead out to 30 points (83-53 with 6:25 left), as the Royals played 12 players off the bench throughout the second half in the convincing 20-point victory over Houghton.
Overall, Danzig (who only played 21 minutes in the game), finished with 14 points to lead the way, as he went 6-of-7 from the free throw line in the victory. Scranton's only other double-digit scorer in the win was senior Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) who finished with 13 points and three steals.
In all, 15 Scranton players scored in the victory. Of note, junior's Logan Bailey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) and Brian Monaghan (Florham Park, N.J./Morristown-Beard) scored nine points, apiece, while freshman Stephen Braunstein (Colts Neck, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) scored eight points in the first significant minutes of his collegiate career.
For Houghton, Billy McRae led all scorers with 12 points off the bench.
On Saturday, Scranton will take on William Paterson in the Hilton Scranton Invitational title game, as the Pioneers were winners over Sarah Lawrence, 86-66. The contest will tip-off at 4 p.m. in the Long Center.