By Chris McManes
SCRANTON, PA. – Catholic University missed a golden opportunity to leave its biggest rival's gymnasium with a victory.
Ross Danzig's fastbreak layup and Tommy Morgan's two free throws late in the second overtime allowed the University of Scranton to eke out an 80-76 win over the Cardinals at the John J. Long Center on Saturday afternoon.
CUA (11-3, 1-2 Landmark Conference) had a chance to seal the game in regulation, but missed free throws and a late Royal layup gave Scranton (10-4, 3-0) new life in overtime.
The Royals took a 68-64 lead on a Travis Farrell floater with 2:52 to go in the first five-minute extra period. Freshman Steve Limberiou's back-to-back jumpers tied it, and Nate Koenig's 3-pointer gave CUA a one-point cushion with 32.7 seconds remaining. Farrell's baseline layup put the Royals ahead, 72-71.
The Cardinals' Chris Kearney was fouled with 1.2 seconds to go in the period and missed the first of two foul shots. Following a CUA timeout, he made the second to push the game to a second overtime.
Scranton struck first with a Morgan 3-pointer from the top of the key to put his team on top, 75-72. Danzig made 1 of 2 from the line with 1:36 to play and give the Royals a 76-74 advantage.
Koenig, who played his finest all-around game in a Cardinal uniform, knotted it at 76 on a jumper from the free throw line. Danzig hit a layup in transition at the 26.7-second mark and, following a CUA miss, Morgan sank two foul shots with 11.3 seconds to go for the final tally.
Koenig finished with a career-high 20 points, three rebounds, four assists and three steals. He made 8 of 16 from the field, including 2 of 3 from long distance, and both of his free throws.
Limberiou succeeded on 7 of 12 shots (2 of 4 3-pointers) and 4 of 5 free throws for 20 points. He and Darrell Carroll (14 points) tied for the team rebounding high with six. Kearney totaled 10 points.
Morgan paced the Royals' offensively with 20 points and Luke Hawk scored 18 on 8 of 13 shooting. Danzig, a freshman and son of Scranton Coach Carl Danzig, produced 17 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Nick Jaskula had 11 points and six boards.
A Farrell 3-pointer late in regulation pulled Scranton to within 58-56 before Carroll's layup increased the Cards' lead to four. After Shawn Holmes and Limberiou each sank 1 of 2 free throws in the final 28.3 seconds of regulation to give the Cardinals a 62-60 lead, Morgan tied it on a driving layup with 6.4 seconds left. Holmes missed a runner to send the game to overtime.
CUA's 10-3 run broke a 45-all tie and put the Cardinals in front, 55-48, with 7:04 to play. Koenig assisted on Limberiou's 3-pointer, sank a jumper, took a charge and concluded the run with two free throws.
The Cards, who didn't trail in the first half, went on a 9-4 run to increase their 18-11 lead to 27-15. Limberiou scored five points during the flurry with an off-balance driving layup and 3-pointer from the right wing. Kearney took a pass from Holmes and hit a reverse layup and Carroll concluded the run with two free throws. He was 6 of 8 from the line in the opening period and 8-for-11 overall.
The Royals got back into the game with three treys in the middle of a 14-3 outburst. Danzig popped two of the 3-pointers and Tim Lavelle made one. CUA, led by Limberiou's 12 points, went into halftime leading, 34-31.
The Cards return to action Friday at 5:30 p.m. when they host Susquehanna University. On Saturday, CUA welcomes Juniata College to DuFour Center. Game time is 2 p.m.
NOTES – Darrell Carroll took three charges for the Cardinals. … Scranton has won eight straight in the series and leads the overall tally, 32-16. … CUA had 12 steals. … Both teams were nearly identical in their shooting. The Cards made 47.4 percent and 30.8 from long range; the Royals checked in at 49.2 and 27.3. Scranton was 12 of 21 from the line (57.1 percent), while the Cardinals were 18 of 27 (66.7).
CUA drops double overtime decision at Scranton, 80-76
By Chris McManes