SCRANTON, Pa. – An eight-point halftime lead was not enough of a cushion for the Susquehanna men’s basketball team as Scranton – a team receiving votes in the national polls – came from behind to defeat SU 77-73 in a Saturday afternoon Landmark Conference contest.
Senior center Harley Sellinger (Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain) finished with a game-high 24 points while Jake Eskin (Germantown, Md./Churchill) added 21 points and six assists. Brandon Hedley (Silver Spring, Md./Salisbury Prep) was the third and final Crusader to pick up double-digit points as he had 14 points to go along with seven assists.
SU (12-9, 4-6) shot 54 percent from the floor but connected on only 29 percent of its three-point attempts while the Royals (18-3, 8-2) sank 55 percent of its shots from beyond the arc.
The game opened on a 6-0 Crusader run with all six points coming from Sellinger. A Sellinger layup inside the 15-minute mark kept SU ahead by three (12-9) and roughly four minutes later, Danny Weiss (Montville, N.J./Montville Twp.) made it a nine-point SU lead with a layup at the 10:57 mark.
Soon it was a double-digit lead (29-18) for Susquehanna after Eskin’s jumper with 8:24 to play in the half. Scranton’s Brendan Boken, however, later connected on a layup that trimmed SU’s lead to three (29-26) and capped off an 8-0 run for the Royals.
With 57 seconds to play in the half, Sellinger’s layup upped Susquehanna’s lead to six (42-36) and the Crusaders took a 44-36 lead into halftime after to a tip-in from Sellinger marked the final points of the half.
Unfortunately, the Royals opened the second half on a 10-0 run that gave them their first lead of the afternoon at 46-44 with 15:31 still to play in the game. For the next 10 minutes, the lead swapped hands with neither team leading by more than two points until Scranton went up 63-60 on a Michael Barr trey at the 5:50 mark.
Thirty seconds later it was a 65-60 Scranton lead but a Sellinger dunk with 2:09 to play pulled SU back within just one (69-68). As the clock wound down inside the one-minute mark, the Royals maintained a 71-69 edge and Tre Dean (Dallas, Texas/Greenhill School) was able to keep it a two-point game (73-71) with a layup with 21 seconds remaining.
Boken then sank two free throws with 12 seconds on the clock to make it 75-71 before Eskin was fouled a mere four seconds later and connected on both of his ensuing free throws for a 75-73 game. The Crusaders were forced to foul, though, and Marcus Thomas went 2-for-2 at the free throw line to clinch the come-from-behind win for the Royals.
Susquehanna is back on the road on Wednesday, Feb. 12 to face Catholic at 7 p.m.
Crusaders Cannot Hold off Scranton in Men’s Basketball Action