Crusaders Start Strong, Grab Win over Rutgers-Camden

Crusaders Start Strong, Grab Win over Rutgers-Camden

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – After an impressive first half, the Susquehanna men's basketball team held off a resilient Rutgers-Camden team to win 82-63 on the opening night of Lycoming College's Basinger Memorial Tournament.

The Crusaders will face the Warriors on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 3 p.m. in the championship game. Lycoming defeated Penn State Brandywine in the opening game of the men's tournament.

SU (7-3) had held at 27-point advantage in the first half and went into halftime leading by 21. The Scarlet Raptors, however, cut that lead to just eight points midway through the second half before the Crusaders were able to finish off the game.

Brandon Hedley (Silver Spring, Md./Blake) and Jason Dietrich (Maytown, Pa./Kutztown University) each finished with a team-high 20 points with 18 of Hedley's coming from three-point range. Dietrich also added 10 rebounds and four assists. Steven Weidlich (Watchung, N.J./Watchung Hills) had a solid all-around game, contributing nine points, nine boards, six assists and three steals in 29 minutes of action.

As a team, the Crusaders shot nearly 52 percent from the floor while their defense limited the Scarlet Raptors (4-4) to 38 percent, including a mere 29 percent from beyond the arc. In addition, 34 of SU's points came from its bench while Rutgers-Camden's starters scored all but six of the team's points.

Rutgers-Camden took an early 3-0 before the Crusaders went on a 12-0 run to jump ahead 12-3 after just over five minutes of action. Back-to-back threes from Dietrich and Evan Austin (Knoxville, Md./St. John's Catholic Prep) put SU ahead by 11 (20-9) at the 9:10 mark of the half.

Those buckets were the start of a run that stretched Susquehanna's lead to 22 (31-9) with 6:33 still to play in the first half.

With the score 33-13 at the 5:15 mark of the period, SU went on a 9-2 run to take a 42-15 advantage and went into halftime leading 45-24.

However, the Scarlet Raptors opened the second half on a 9-3 run to close the gap to just 15 points (48-33) after just over one minute of play. Rutgers-Camden soon cut the lead to 11, 53-42, less than six minutes into the period.

With 13:16 remaining, the Crusaders found themselves leading by just eight, 55-47, before Connor Mailen (Taylor, Pa./Riverside) scored the team's next five points for a 60-47 ballgame.

The lead alternated between single and double digits with Rutgers-Camden down by just eight, 63-55, at the midway point of the half.

Susquehanna countered, though, with nine unanswered points to quickly go ahead by 17 (72-55), with just under eight minutes to play. Weidlich drained a three to extend SU's lead to 78-59 as the clock neared the five-minute mark.

Josh Miller's (Strasburg, Pa./Lampeter Strasburg) layup with 2:54 to play upped the margin to 17 (80-63) and the Crusaders went on to the 82-63 win.