The University of Scranton men's basketball team clinched a spot in the Landmark Conference playoffs with a 77-68 victory over Juniata on Saturday afternoon in the John Long Center. The Royals (19-4, 8-4 Landmark) secured its 14th postseason bid in the last 15 years with the win, coupled with losses by Catholic and Elizabethtown.
Prior to Saturday's contest, Scranton honored Jack Connelly (Ellington, Conn./Ellington), the lone senior on this year's roster for the Royals.
Junior Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) led five Scranton players in double-figures, pairing a game-high 20 points with a game and career-best 15 rebounds for his conference-leading 10th double-double of the season. He also had four assists, three steals, and two blocked shots in the win.
Junior Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) netted 16 points, sophomore Logan Bailey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) and freshman Jack Brockett (Shamong, N.J./Seneca) added 14 points apiece, and freshman Jackson Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) tallied 11 points and had a game-high five assists for the Royals.
In a game that Scranton never trailed, neither team was able to find their offensive rhythm in the early going with the Royals taking a 19-14 advantage on a layup by freshman Ben Bosland (Colts Neck, N.J./Colts Neck) with 7:43 remaining in the opening half.
Juniata (8-15, 2-10 Landmark) scored the next five points to knot the score at 19-apiece, but Scranton used a 13-2 burst to open up a 32-21 lead before taking a 35-26 advantage into the break.
The visitors opened the second half with a 16-8 push, cutting their deficit to one-point, 43-42, with 14 and a half minutes remaining in regulation. Scranton pushed its lead back to double-digits midway through the period and led by as many as 13 points before Juniata used a late push, pulling to within six points in the final two minutes of the contest before Royals closed out the victory, moving to 13-1 in games played in the Long Center this season.
Scranton, which held a 39-30 advantage in rebounding for the game, shot 44.4 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point land, and 75.9 percent from the free throw line.
The Eagles went 43.8 from the floor, 41.2 percent from beyond the arc, made five-of-six free throw attempts in the loss.
The Royals will travel to Madison, N.J. on Wednesday looking to complete a regular season sweep of conference-leading Drew in a Landmark Conference tilt starting at 7 p.m