SELINSGROVE, Pa. – An early, five-point lead did not hold up for the Susquehanna men’s basketball team as the Crusaders dropped an 82-68 home decision to Scranton in the 2013-14 Landmark Conference opener for both squads.
Just 3:12 into the game, SU (3-3, 0-1) found itself up 7-2 but exactly three minutes later the Crusaders were down by two and never again led against the Royals (5-1, 1-0).
Freshman Steven Weidlich (Watchung, N.J./Watchung Hills) led all Susquehanna players with 20 points, 18 of which came from beyond the arc. Brandon Hedley (Silver Spring, Md./Salisbury Prep) chipped in 11 to go along with five assists and Jake Eskin (Germantown, Md./Churchill) contributed eight points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Free throw shooting proved difficult for Susquehanna as the team sank only 9-of-28 attempts (32.1 percent). The Crusaders shot just under 40 percent from the floor but Scranton was able to counter with a 48 percent showing.
Susquehanna’s early, 7-2 lead was thanks in part to buckets from three different players including an Eskin free throw at 16:48 that made it a five-point Crusader lead (7-2).
Three minutes later, Scranton went up 11-9 on a Ross Danzig trey; Danzig would go on to finish with a game-high 22 points. The Royals did not lead by double digits, however, until there was just 1:36 left in the half after a 15-4 run to close the half eventually made it 45-32 at the midway point.
While Susquehanna was able to hold the Royals to only 37 second-half points, SU managed just 36 of its own to end any threat of a comeback. The Crusaders were in a 20-point hole (62-42) at the 13:03 mark and went down by a game-high 25 points (78-53) with 7:10 to play.
Susquehanna closed the gap to 16, 80-64, on a Phil Madison (Johnstown, Pa./Great Johnstown) free throw but pulled no closer, ultimately falling 82-68.
The Crusaders are back in action on Dec. 14-15 at the Monarch Classic, hosted by King’s. SU faces King’s on Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. followed by Wilkes on Dec. 15 at 1 p.m.
Scranton Tops SU Men in Conference Opener