MADISON, N.J. – In need of a victory to solidify its chances at a postseason berth, The University of Scranton men's basketball team went on the road Thurdsay night and knocked off first-place Drew for the second time this season, defeating the Rangers, 77-65, in Baldwin Gymnasium.
Playing a day later than originally scheduled after the game was postponed on Wednesday due to the snowstorm in the Mid-Atlantic, the Royals (11-11, 7-4 Landmark) used a late first-half spurt to pull away, then stymied Drew (16-6, 9-2 Landmark) in the second half to earn the victory.
Scranton is now alone in fourth place in the Landmark Conference with three games remaining. Drew sits atop the conference standings with Moravian (16-6, 8-3) and Juniata (19-3, 8-3) tied for second a game back. The Royals are fourth, with Catholic (12-10, 6-5) one spot back and Susquehanna (8-13, 5-6) still in the running for one of the four playoff spots.
The Royals will host Catholic in a pivotal matchup in the Long Center on Saturday at 1 p.m.
On Thursday night, Scranton ended the first half on a 7-2 run to take a 46-36 lead into the locker room. Drew used a 5-0 run to pull within 53-49 with 13:05 to play, but the Royals responded with a 12-2 run to take a 65-51 lead with eight minutes to play. The Rangers got no closer than 11 the rest of the way.
Sophomore guard Kyle DeVerna (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) led Scranton with 20 points, one shy of his career high. Senior forward Drew Schankweiler (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) had a monster double-double – his ninth of the season – finishing with 16 points and 16 rebounds while adding three steals, two blocks and an assist. He had 12 points and seven boards in the second half alone.
Sophomore forward Matthew Mancuso (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) added a double-double of his own, finishing with 16 points and 11 rebounds along with three steals. Senior guard Kevin Doolan (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge) also had a strong game, finishing with nine points, eight assists and three rebounds while committing just two turnovers.
The Royals shot 47.3 percent (26-for-55) from the field, including 7-for-17 (41.2 percent) from 3-point range. They made 18 of 27 (66.7 percent) at the free throw line and won the battle of the boards, 39-29, helping them to a 15-8 edge in second-chance points. Scranton also committed 14 turnovers.
Drew received 18 points from Yonathan Napoleon, 12 from Riley Collins and 10 from Nate Aldrich. The Rangers shot 42.9 percent (24-for-56) from the field, including 7-for-15 (46.7 percent) from 3-point range. They made 10 of 16 (62.5 percent) at the free throw line and committed 15 turnovers.
Saturday's game against Catholic is the Royals' final regular season home game. After the completion of the game and prior to the start of the women's game against Catholic, the University will induct the seven members of the Class of 2017 into the athletics Wall of Fame in a ceremony at center court.