SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Down by 14 points with only 5:19 left to go in the game, the Susquehanna men’s basketball team found itself trailing visiting Catholic University by just six points with 1:51 on the clock but ultimately fell 78-71 in mid-week conference action.
The Crusaders (10-6, 2-3) came very close to dealing the Cardinals (11-5, 5-0) their first Landmark Conference loss of the season but an 11-point halftime deficit proved too much to overcome.
Even in the loss four SU players reached double figures with 15 from Brandon Hedley (Silver Spring, Md./Salisbury Prep). Jake Eskin (Germantown, Md./Churchill) found himself just one rebound shy of a double-double as he poured in 14 points, pulled down nine boards and had a game-high eight assists. Harley Sellinger (Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain) added 12 points and eight rebounds while Matt McGugan (Silver Spring, Md./Blake) had 11 points in 26 minutes of action off the bench.
Susquehanna rebounded from a 30 percent first-half field goal percentage to shoot better than 42 percent in the second half. The team also had 38 points in the paint to Catholic’s 22 and committed just nine turnovers all night.
The Crusaders jumped out to a 4-0 lead less than 60 seconds into the game before Catholic was able to tie the game at six with 16:42 on the clock. The Cardinals went ahead on their very next possession and never again trailed in the game.
Catholic took a 10-point advantage, 16-6, at the 12:06 mark and six minutes later made it a game-high 16-point lead (28-12). SU ended the half, however, by scoring 11 of the final 17 points to pull within just seven, 34-23, at halftime.
The Cardinals regained a double-digit lead a mere 63 seconds into the second half and pulled ahead by 13 (52-39) with 13:12 remaining.
With the score 58-48 in favor of Catholic, the Crusaders put together a 7-2 run to make it a five-point game at 60-55 on a McGugan layup at the 8:53 mark.
Unfortunately Susquehanna was unable to further close the gap and the team found itself back down by 14 (70-56) with only 5:19 to play. SU kept battling and was able to get back within just six points (74-68) on two Hedley free throws at 1:51 but Catholic did not let its lead shrink any smaller than that.
Susquehanna hits the road to face Moravian on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 2 p.m.
Late Susquehanna Comeback Falls Short