Monarch Men Rally Falls Short in 94-85 Loss to Misericordia, Fazzini Scores 1,000th Career Point

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FEBRUARY 8, 2018


WILKES-BARRE -- Jason Kenney scored 37 points, including 25 in the first half, to power the Misericordia University men's basketball team to a 94-85 victory over King's College Thursday night in Scandlon Gymnasium.

With the win, Misericordia improved to 13-9 overall and 8-3 in MAC Freedom Conference play. King's, meanwhile, slipped to 10-12 overall and 6-5 in league competition.

The teams battled on virtually even terms the first five minutes of the game as the Monarchs held an 8-7 lead following a Tyler Millan lay-up with 15:04 to go in the first half. After a Tre' Fields layup put the Cougars on top 9-8, Kenney exploded for Misericordia.  The junior guard would score the next 14 points for the Cougars, including four straight three-pointers, as the Cougars suddenly led 23-14 at the 10:48 mark.  Noah Rivera then scored five consecutive points and Fields added an inside bucket to put Misericordia on top 30-16 with 8:00 to play in the opening stanza.  Misericordia eventually built its biggest lead of the half when a Tony Harding jumper pushed the score to 43-23 at the 3:51 mark.

But the Monarchs finally go going and strung together a 13-3 run thanks to six points from Connor Callejas, three-pointers from Dan Angelo and Lenny Radziak, and a jumper by Fazzini to cut the lead to 46-36 with 0:50 left in the half. The Cougars took a 48-36 lead at the break after Kenney made two late free throws.

In the second half, Callejas hit a three-pointer to trim the score to 48-39, but Misericordia used a 17-8 surge on the strength of four three-pointers to extend the lead to 65-47 after a downtown shot by Fields.  Misericordia would maintain control and owned an 85-67 lead with 6:07 remaining, but the Monarchs were not done. 

A pair of foul shots from Fazzini and a jumper from Radziak cut the score to 85-71. After a Cougar bucket brought the core to 87-71, back-to-back driving lay-ups from Noah Tanner, a three-pointer and two free throws from Radziak, and a Josh Bailey three-pointer capped a 12-3 Monarch run over a 5:00 span cut the Misericordia lead to 88-83 with 1:07 to play.

Kenny hit two free throws for the Cougars before Radziak countered with two for the Monarchs to bring the score to 90-85 with 0:55 on the clock. Kenney was fouled and hit one0of-two charity tosses to put the Cougars ahead 91-85 with 0:51 to play.  After a King's miss, the Monarchs fouled Rivera, who missed both attempts with 0:40 left to keep the score the same. But the Monarchs committed a costly turnover with 0:30 left and. forced to foul, put Kenney on the line with 0:27 remaining.  Kenney made both shots to up the score to 93-85. After the Monarchs missed a three-pointer with 0:17 to go, King's fouled Tyrell Mann, who made one-of-two shots with 0:04 to play to set the final.

The Monarchs placed five players in double-figures, paced by Tanner with 20 points. Callejas added 16 points and four assists while Fazzini tallied 15 points and nine rebounds, including the 1,000th points of his career in the first half. Radziak also added 15 points in the game.

The Monarchs, who started a line-up with three players 5-foot-8 and under, were out-rebounded 42-26 by the much larger Cougars whose shortest player was 6-foot-3.  But King's used its quickness and tenacity to force 19 Cougar turnovers while committing just nine. King's shot 44.6 (29-65) percent from the floor and 34.5 (10-29) percent from three-point land. King's also made 81.0 (17-of-21) percent of its foul shots.

Kenney reached his 36-point total by shooting a scalding 10-of-12 from the field, 6-of-8 from three-point range, and 11-of-13 from the foul line. Fields added 27 points while Tony Harding posted 11 points and eight boards. Rivera chipped in with eight points and 12 rebounds.  The Cougars shot a red-hot 57.4 (31-54) percent from the floor, 56.5 (13-23) percent from three-point range, and 65.5 (19-29) percent from the foul line.

King's returns to the court Saturday with another key Freedom Conference matchup as the Monarchs travel to Center Valley to face DeSales University in a 3:00 PM matchup.