|Ryan Ems||Logan Bailey||Jackson Danzig|
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Down by eight points with a little over two minutes left in regulation at Catholic, The University of Scranton men's basketball team went on an 11-1 run to end the game to rally back and take a 69-67 Landmark Conference victory on Sunday afternoon at Franny Murray Court.
Scranton (4-2, 4-2 Landmark) and Catholic (4-2, 4-2 Landmark) started off the game Sunday similar to how they did on Friday evening in the Long Center, as the lead swung back and forth between the teams. But, just like it had on Friday, Catholic ended the first half strong, as they went into the locker room up, 33-25, on the Royals.
To open the second half, the Cardinals increased their lead to double-digits quick at 37-25 in the first two minutes of action. That lead held for Catholic for the majority of the next nine minutes, but slowly, Scranton chipped away at the Cardinals lead.
Finally, with 11:04 left, sophomore Jack Lambert (Cooperstown, N.Y./Cooperstown) nailed a three to slice the Catholic lead all the way down to one point (50-49). Then, with 9:36 to go, sophomore Ryan Ems (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Regional) scored to give the Royals their first lead since early in the first half at 51-50.
Unfortunately for Scranton, that lead lasted just 18 seconds, as a quick Cardinal basket put Catholic back up, 52-51. The basket kicked off a 6-0 run for the Cardinals, and just like that, Catholic was leading 56-51 on the Royals with 8:13 left.
Over the six minutes, it seemed like every time Scranton made a run at Catholic, the Cardinals answered time and again. Despite cutting the Cardinal lead down to three points, twice, Catholic found themselves up, 66-58 with 2:29 to go in regulation.
Here, Scranton began their comeback.
First, senior Logan Bailey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) was fouled and made two free throws to make it a 66-60 game with 2:19 left. After a made Catholic free throw made it a 67-60 game, senior Brian Monaghan (Florham Park, N.J./Morristown-Beard) drained a three to cut the Cardinal lead down to four (67-63) with 1:48 left.
After a stop by the Scranton defense, junior Jackson Danzig (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) knocked down a jumper with 55 seconds left to get the Royals within a basket at 67-65.
Following another Scranton defensive stop, Bailey made the play of the game, as he was fouled on a made jumper to tie the game. On the proceeding free throw, Bailey was pure, and the three-point play gave the Royals the lead at 68-67.
Down by one with seven seconds left, Catholic tried to go up two with a made three off an in-bounds play, but it missed and fell into the hands of Danzig who's rebound with five seconds left gave Scranton the ball back. He was immediately fouled and made the second of two free to put Scranton up a basket with 1.1 seconds left.
On their final possession, Catholic's had a final shot go well away from the rim to clinch the win for Scranton, as the Royals scored the final nine points of regulation to take the key road victory.
Overall, Ems ended the day as the Royals' leading scorer, finishing with a career-high 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor. Ems, who went 8-of-10 from the free throw line, also had seven rebounds and two steals in the win.
Elsewhere, Bailey finished with 16 points, as he also pulled down five rebounds, and had three assists, two steals and two blocks. Danzig finished with nine points and five rebounds, while junior Ryan Starr (Upper Saddle River, N.J./Northern Highlands Regional) had nine points, all in the first half.
Catholic was led in the defeat by Jesse Hafemeister, who had a game-high 20 points, as the Royals held Catholic to 39.1 percent shooting from the floor and forced 16 turnovers.
Scranton also had the lead for just 2:41 in the game, but most importantly had the lead in the final seven seconds of regulation to take the thrilling come-from-behind win.
The University of Scranton men's basketball team plays their final Landmark Conference games of the regular season beginning on Friday night, as they head to Juniata. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.