|Ryan Ems||Logan Bailey||Jack Brockett|
HUNTINGDON, Pa. - For the second straight game, The University of Scranton men's basketball team used an improbable late second half comeback, this time forcing overtime at Juniata, where they pulled past the host Eagles, 64-60, in Landmark Conference action on Friday night.
To open play in the contest, offense was at an absolute premium in the first half, as Scranton (5-2, 5-2 Landmark) shot just 23 percent from the floor, while Juniata (3-4, 3-4 Landmark) finished at 28 percent for the first 20 minutes. However, it was the Eagles then went into the locker room for halftime with the lead at 23-13.
For most of the second half it was more of the same for Scranton, as they struggled to get anything going on the offensive end, so much so that Juniata opened a big 46-32 lead on the Royals with 7:30 to go in regulation.
Here, the comeback bid began for Scranton.
Over the next four minutes, a 12-2 run by the Royals sliced the Juniata lead all the way down to 48-44 with three minutes to go.
After a Juniata basket made it a 50-44 game, Scranton scored back-to-back buckets to cut the lead down even further at 50-48 with two minutes left after sophomore Ryan Ems (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Regional) was fouled on a made layup. Ems made the free throw to convert the three-point play and cut the Junita lead all the way down to one point (50-49).
The next minute and a half plus saw each team miss chances, but came to a head after Juniata made a free throw with nine seconds left. Out of a timeout, senior Brian Monaghan (Florham Park. N.J./Morristown-Beard) found fellow senior Logan Bailey (Scranton, Pa./Scranton Prep) with three seconds left, who proceeded to lay it in to tie the game at 51-51 with three seconds to go.
A buzzer beater attempt by Juniata sailed wide right from half court after Bailey's lay-in, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra frame, Bailey's lay-in with 3:37 left gave the Royals a lead at 53-51, Scranton's first lead since the eight minute mark of the opening frame. After a Juniata free throw made it a 53-52 game, sophomore Stephen Braunstein (Colts Neck, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) nailed a jumper with 2:48 left to give Scranton a 55-52 edge.
After both teams traded possessions, sophomore Jack Lambert (Cooperstown, N.Y./Cooperstown) made the shot of the game, nailing a three-pointer with 1:28 to go in the extra frame to give the Royals a 58-52 lead.
Despite several runs at the Scranton lead over the final minute by Juniata - including a point where the Eagles cut the Royals' lead to two points at 60-58 - Lambert's made three gave the Royals enough cushion down the stretch to clinch the win with solid free throw shooting. Up by three (63-60) with three seconds left after a Juniata lay-in, junior Jack Brockett (Shamong, N.J./Seneca) was fouled and proceeded to clinch the win for Scranton with a made free throw, giving the Royals a come-from-behind four-point win.
Overall, Bailey led the Royals in scoring with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Brockett came off the bench and added 12 points and six rebounds. Ems had 11 points and six rebounds, and Braunstein finished with 10 points to round out the top scorers for Scranton.
Juniata was led in the tough loss by Cameron Keck, who had 15 points.
Scranton and Juniata will play once again on Saturday in the Landmark Conference regular season finale for both squads. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. in the John Long Center.