BETHLEHEM - Senior forward Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) poured in a game-high 30 points (scoring 20 in the second half alone) and pulled down 15 rebounds, but it wasn't enough, as a late comeback bid by The University of Scranton men's basketball team fell just short at Moravian on Wednesday night in a 68-66 Landmark Conference defeat.
With the loss, the Royals dropped to 16-6 and 8-3 in the Landmark Conference, as Scranton fell back into a three-way tie at the top of the Landmark standings with Drew and Susquehanna with their loss (Susquehanna defeated Drew, 79-54, on Wednesday night).
Moravian, meanwhile, improved to 12-10 and 7-4 in the Landmark with the win.
To start, offense was tough to come by for Scranton, as they shot just 31 percent from the floor (9-of-29) and 10 percent from three-point range (2-of-10) in the first 20 minutes of action to go into intermission trailing by 10 at 32-22.
To start the second half, Scranton quickly scored the first seven points of the period to slice the Moravian lead down to three points (32-29), but in what was a theme of most of the second half, the host Greyhounds were able to extinguish the threat, opening back up a double-digit lead (40-29) after an 8-0 run of their own.
With 11 minutes left, the Greyhounds took their biggest lead of the night at 49-36 on Scranton. But, over the next five minutes, the Royals got back into the game, as a 12-2 spurt cut the Moravian lead back down to three points (51-48) with six minutes left.
But, once again, Moravian punched back, as a 9-2 run put the Greyhounds back up 10 with 2:36 left at 60-50. That 10 point lead held with a 1:30 left at 62-52, which was where Scranton made things very, very interesting down the stretch.
Down by six with 25 seconds left (67-61), junior Logan Bailey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) sank two free throws to make it a four-point game. After committing a foul to send Moravian to the line, the Greyhounds proceeded to miss two free throws, and with seven seconds left, Mancuso drained a three to cut the Moravian lead all the way down to one point (67-66).
After failing to get a steal, Scranton fouled, and Moravian missed their first free throw with four seconds left. The Greyhounds, however, made the second to go back up two at 68-66. With no timeouts, Mancuso once again hoisted a three at the buzzer that would've won the game, but the shot fell short, giving Moravian the victory.
Overall, Mancuso did about everything he could to help the Royals get back into the game in the second half, as the senior hit the 30-point mark for the second time on his senior season, last accomplishing the feat at Cabrini on Nov. 23 when he scored 38 points. He also grabbed 15 rebounds off the glass to notch his 11th double-double of the year, while also posting four assists, three blocks and two steals.
Elsewhere, Bailey finished with 12 points, five rebounds, and two steals. Moravian was led in the victory by Matt O'Connor, who had 18 points.
The University of Scranton men's basketball team looks to bounce back on Saturday, as they travel to Juniata for another Landmark Conference road contest. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.