MADISON, N.J. – Playing the finale of four-straight road games, the Susquehanna men’s basketball team was unable to pull off the upset, falling 84-79 to Drew on Saturday evening.
SU (9-13, 5-6) saw two players tally 20 points, as senior Rob Estep (York, Pa./West York/Hobart) and junior Spenser Spencer (Seattle, Wash./Lakeside) combined for more than half of the Crusaders’ points. Joining the pair in double figures was sophomore Harvey Pannell with 18 and freshman Harley Sellinger with 11.
Estep also finished just one board shy of a double-double as he pulled down nine rebounds, three of which came on the offensive glass. SU finished with 18 offensive boards to Drew’s eight.
Unfortunately, the Crusaders were unable to put a stop to Drew’s offense, as the Rangers (13-9, 8-3) shot at a 50-percent clip from the floor and converted on 48 percent of its three-point shots.
The teams traded buckets for the opening minutes of the game, with SU holding a 10-9 lead thanks to a Pannell basket with 15:36 on the clock. Estep’s jumper two minutes later kept the Crusaders within two (14-12).
With 5:46 to play in the half, Drew went up by four after a Bobby Falconiero three and teammate Dylan Bulger followed with two free throws 60 seconds later made it 29-23.
Estep dialed up a three-pointer on Susquehanna’s ensuing possession to make it 29-26. The Crusaders scored 10 points over the final 2:48 of the half, capped off by Pannell’s jumper at the four-second mark, to stay within three, 39-36, at the midway point.
Down by six (47-41) with 15:10 on the clock, Spencer was fouled on a three-point attempt and he subsequently sank all three ensuing free throws to make it a three-point game at 47-44. Spencer was fouled his next time with the ball and again sank both free throws for a one-point contest with 14:30 remaining.
Spencer kept his hot hand going, nailing a three for a 56-53 score with 11 minutes to play. He then somehow managed convert on a basket as he was falling to the floor for a 59-55 contest.
E.J. Duncan (East Stroudsburg, Pa./Pope John XXIII Regional) came off the bench with less than eight minutes remaining in the half and his three-pointer with 6:32 on the clock made it 65-60.
More than two minutes later, it remained 65-60 until Bulger’s layup sparked a 6-0 run that ran the clock to under three minutes.
Both teams were over the limit with 1:30 still to play and with Drew ahead by 10, 75-65, SU had little choice but to foul. Nine Rangers free throws over the final 60 seconds clinched the outcome.
Next game: Friday, Feb. 11 vs. Scranton – 7:30 p.m.