SCRANTON, Pa. – The University of Scranton men's basketball team (10-5, 2-2 Landmark) rallied from a double-digit first half deficit and notched a 72-68 victory over the Elizabethtown Blue Jays (7-6, 1-2 Landmark) in a conference matchup on Friday afternoon at the John Long Center in Scranton.
Scranton held a 70-68 lead in the final seconds of regulation and the Blue Jays' Rance Russo missed a layup to set the stage for a pair of free throws from graduate student Jackson Danzig* (Clarks Green, Pa./Abington Heights) with 0:08 left that sealed the victory.
Elizabethtown had taken a 63-61 lead with 5:36 to play, but Danzig immediately responded with a three to ignite an 11-5 run over the final five plus minutes as the Royals notched their 10th win of the season.
The Blue Jays were hot out of the gates on Friday as a three-pointer by Jalin Robinson opened up a 20-8 lead at the 11:49 mark of the first half. However, the Royals were able to battle back as a 9-0 run over a span of 2:12 quickly cut the lead to three at 23-20 following a jumper by senior Stephen Braunstein* (Colts Neck, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) before Elizabethtown responded and built the lead back to double figures at 37-27 with 3:21 to play in the opening stanza. Freshman Jon Spatola (Marlboro, N.J./Marlboro) made a jumper for the Royals who scored 10 of the final 12 points of the half to cut the deficit to two at 39-37.
After a Russo three broke a 39-all deadlock, the Royals took their first lead of the game when Braunstein hit a layup and Danzig followed with a three for a 44-42 edge with 17:13 to play. The two teams traded punches for much of the second half with neither team leading by more than five over the final 17 plus minutes and the Blue Jays led 63-61 before the afore-mentioned Danzig three that marked the beginning of seven straight points for the Royals to take a 68-63 lead and the hosts would not trail again.
All five members of the starting lineup scored eight or more points for the Royals as sophomore Will McLoughlin (Glen Rock, N.J./Glen Rock) led the way with 16, Danzig added 13, Braunstein had nine and the backcourt duo of Spatola and junior Tahaj Parland (Neptune, N.J./Mater Dei) tallied eight apiece.
Russo led the Blue Jays with 17 in the setback and Dylan Rowe added 15.
The Royals shot 48.3% (28-of-58) from the floor and 21.4% (3-of-14) from deep to go along with a 92.9% (13-of-14) from the free throw line. Elizabethtown was 24-of-49 (49.0%) from the field and 8-of-19 (42.1%) from deep.
Scranton held a 29-28 edge on the boards behind nine from McLoughlin and six from Danzig.
Head coach Carl Danzig's squad will host Drew in a Landmark battle on Wednesday night at the John Long Center with opening tip slated for 7 p.m.