Men’s Hoops Falls Just Short Against No. 24 Scranton

Men’s Hoops Falls Just Short Against No. 24 Scranton

SELINSGROVE, Pa. – The Susquehanna and Scranton men's basketball teams played a back-and-forth contest on Thursday night in a rematch of last season's Landmark Conference Championship, but the Royals ultimately prevailed, 70-68. The game featured four ties and 13 lead changes as neither team led by more than eight at any point.

Susquehanna falls to 2-2 in conference play while No. 24 Scranton improves to a perfect 5-0 in the Landmark.

Brandon Hedley (Silver Spring, Md./Salisbury Prep.) led the Crusaders in scoring with 17 points, while Josh Miller (Strasburg, Pa./Lampeter Strasburg) added 14 and Matt McGugan (Silver Spring, Md./Blake) finished with 10. Steven Weidlich (Watchung, N.J./Watchung Hills) recorded nine points to go with five assists and six rebounds.

SU started the game strong with two treys from Hedley and a jumper from Miller to race ahead to an 8-4 lead early in the first half. The Crusaders extended their lead to eight at 17-9 with 11:32 remaining on a three-pointer by Weidlich, but Scranton's Kevin Doolan answered with back-to-back threes of his own.

The Royals gained the lead for the first time after a five-point run, but a layup from Connor Mailen (Taylor, Pa./Riverside) put SU back ahead, though only for 20 seconds as Scranton pulled ahead with another trey.

With less than a minute remaining in the first half, the visitors held a 35-31 lead but three free throws from Weidlich brought the deficit to one heading into the break.

In the second half, the teams traded baskets until Susquehanna went on a 9-0 run as it held Scranton scoreless for nearly three minutes. The Crusaders held onto a narrow lead but the Royals' Ethan Danzig, who scored nine of his 15 points in the second half, converted two consecutive shots from behind the arc.

Although SU was able to even the score in the second half, it was never able to take the lead and fell behind by five at 65-70 with 3:52 remaining. A three-point play by Hedley brought the Crusaders within one possession and a chance to tie or win when Doolan missed the first half of a one-and-one, but Hedley's layup with three seconds remaining was just off the mark.

The Royals converted 41.7 percent of their three-point attempts but SU limited Justin Klingman, who entered the game as one of the best deep threats in Division III, to two shots and zero points in 37 minutes.

Susquehanna won the turnover battle with only seven to Scranton's 10 and shot 15-of-22 from the charity stripe to its opponent's 8-of-17 mark. The Royals held a slight advantage in rebounds with 39 to SU's 34.

The Crusaders continue conference play as they travel to King's Point, N.Y. on Saturday, Jan. 10 to face USMMA. Earlier this season, SU claimed a narrow, 78-75 overtime victory over the Mariners. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m.