SELINSGROVE, Pa. – In front of the largest crowd of the season, Susquehanna men’s basketball fans saw one of the most thrilling games of the past several years as the Crusaders upset Scranton, 77-63, handing the Royals their first conference loss of the season in the process.
Spenser Spencer (Seattle, Wash./Lakeside) highlighted the evening’s offense by pouring in a game-high 33 points, 13 points better than the next closest scorer, which was teammate J.T. Wilson (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII Regional), who had 20 points. Mike Perillo (Holmdel, N.J./Holmdel) added 11 points and five assists in his 28 minutes of work.
As a team, the Crusaders (9-6, 4-2) shot 55 percent for the game and better than 61 percent from three-point range. They were also aided by a 77 percent free throw shooting effort. While the Royals (12-5, 5-1) had only two more turnovers than SU (15-13), those 15 miscues did lead to 25 Susquehanna points.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle. The teams swapped leads for the first half of the period before the Royals gained a seven-point lead, 13-20, with under seven minutes remaining.
That seven-point lead was quickly erased, however, as SU closed out those final seven minutes on an 18-5 run with 12 of those points coming courtesy of Spencer’s hot hand.
The Crusaders proceeded to then open the second half on a 15-4 run to take their first double-digit lead, 46-35, with 15 minutes remaining.
The Royals kept pressing and closed the gap to just one point (53-52) on a Travis Farrell free throw at 9:14.
SU prevented Scranton from pulling any closer and regained a 10-point lead on a Spencer layup at 5:52 that made it 68-58. That margin stretched to 12 points twice over the closing minutes before Susquehanna sank 4-of-4 free throw attempts in the final 47 seconds to clinch the 14-point margin of victory (77-63).
The men wrap-up the weekend tomorrow with a 2 p.m. game against Moravian.