SAN JUAN, P.R. – Despite a strong comeback effort in the second half, The University of Scranton men's basketball team (8-2) dropped an 86-72 decision to the Washington & Lee Generals (7-4) on Tuesday evening at the Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum on Tuesday evening in San Juan.
This marked the first ever meeting between the two programs.
Freshman Jon Spatola (Marlboro, N.J./Marlboro) connected on a jumper at the 11:49 mark of the first half to give the Royals an early 15-14 advantage before Robert DiSibio sank a pair of free throws on the other end which fueled a 14-5 run for the Generals. The run resulted in a 28-20 lead with 7:09 to play in the opening stanza. Following a four-point play by sophomore Cameron Khoza (State College, Pa./Bishop Guilfoyle) that cut the eight-point deficit in half, Washington & Lee once again answered with an extended run as they closed the half on a 21-2 run over the final six plus minutes and took a 49-26 lead into the locker room.
Scranton scored the first 11 points of the second half and a three-point play by graduate student Jackson Danzig* (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) cut the lead to 49-37 with 17:08 left. Freshman EJ Matthews-Spratley (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) later buried a three to bring the Royals within eight at 53-45, but the Generals quickly stretched the lead back to 14 (61-47) with a brief 8-2 spurt. The Royals did not go down without a fight and cut the lead to nine on three different occasions including at 63-54 with 10:03 to play before Washington & Lee responded with a quick 10-4 run to make it 73-58 and eventually held on for the 14 point victory.
Danzig led Scranton with 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting and senior Stephen Braunstein* (Colts Neck, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) added 11, while the trio of Khoza, Matthews-Spratley and Spatola came through with seven apiece.
DiSibio had 23 points to lead all scorers and three other players scored in double figures including 17 from Drew Harrell off the bench.
The Royals shot 43.6% (24-of-55) from the field, 28.6% (4-of-14) from deep and 87.0% (20-of-23) from the free throw line. For Washington & Lee, the numbers were 25-of-52 (48.1%) from the floor, 11-of-25 (44.0%) from long range and 25-of-33 (75.8%) from the charity stripe.
Scranton will return to action on New Year's Eve at King's with opening tip slated for 2 p.m.