The University of Scranton men's basketball team rallied from deficits in both the second half and overtime to post a 78-74 overtime victory over visiting Moravian College to begin the 2011-12 Landmark Conference season Saturday afternoon despite a career high 27 points from Greyhounds junior guard D.J. Strayhorn.
The Royals (3-2 overall, 1-0 Landmark) jumped out to a 4-0 lead on baskets by senior guard/forward Luke Hawk and sophomore guard Tommy Morgan before the Greyhounds (3-4 overall, 0-1 Landmark) got on the scoreboard with a three-pointer from junior guard Garrett Johnson at 18:03 cut the lead to 18:03. Junior guard Travis Farrell gave Scranton an 8-3 lead with a pair of free throws at the 16:54 mark before Strayhorn hit a jumper for Moravian.
Junior guard Tim Lavelle connected on a three-pointer for the Royals at 12:23 to push the Royals' lead to 16-7, and Farrell had a lay-up off of a steal by Hawk to give Scranton a double-digit lead at 22-11 with 10:44 left in the first half. Moravian would get the lead back under ten points, 24-16, on a three-pointer from sophomore guard Cameron Cullen at the 9:29 mark. Another three-pointer by Cullen and a jumper from Strayhorn would pull the Greyhounds within six points at 27-21 with 8:19 before the intermission.
Freshman guard Kevin Pankionen hit a lay-up at 6:43 to cut the Scranton lead to 31-25, and Strayhorn pulled Moravian within three points at 31-28 with 5:21 left in the first half. Johnson connected on a three-pointer at the 3:41 mark to give the Greyhounds their first lead of the game at 32-31. Moravian pushed its lead to 35-31 on a three-point play by sophomore guard Kenny Gula, and a steal and lay-up from Johnson at 2:06 gave the Greyhounds a 37-31 advantage after a 14-0 run.
Farrell made two free throws with 51 seconds left in the first half, the Royals first points in over six minutes. Scranton senior forward Matt Swaback connected on a three-pointer with 23 seconds remaining in the first half to pull the Royals within a point, 37-36, which was the halftime score.
Moravian was 13-for-28 (46.4 percent) from the floor, 4-for-9 behind the three-point line and 7-for-9 at the foul line in the opening 20 minutes while Scranton connected on 13-of-38 (34.2 percent) field goal attempts, 4-of-10 three-pointers and 6-of-8 free throws. The Royals had a 20-19 edge in rebounds in the opening half, and Scranton had just five turnovers in the first half while Moravian had nine turnovers.
Strayhorn opened the second half with a jumper to give the Greyhounds, and a basket from senior forward Marcus Hardy pushed Moravian's lead to 41-36. Swaback scored the first basket of the second half for the Royals to make the score 41-38 before Gula and Stayhorn answered for Moravian to push the Greyhounds' lead to 45-40 with 15:25 to play in the game.
Scranton pulled within a point, 45-44, on a pair of free throws from Lavelle with 13:56 left in the game; however, Cullen connected jumper and Johnson added to free throws to extend Moravian's lead back to five points, 49-44. The Greyhounds would push the lead to seven points, 51-44, their biggest lead of the contest on a jumper from Gula at the 12:20 mark.
Strayhorn gave Moravian a 53-47 lead halfway through the second half but Morgan connected on a three-pointer for Scranton to cut the advantage to 53-50 with 9:55 on the clock. Farrell added a free throw to get the Royals within a point, and Morgan would tie the game with a steal and lay-up at 53-53 with 9:10 to go. Cullen connected on a pair of free throws to put Moravian up 55-53 before Lavelle connected on a three-pointer to give Scranton a 56-55 lead with 6:25 left. Freshman guard Ross Danzig and Hawk added lay-ups for Scranton, as the Royals pushed the lead to 60-55 with 5:03 remaining.
Hawk hit one of two free throws with 3:10 left to give Scranton a 63-59 lead. Junior forward Aaron Thieme made a pair of free throws 11 seconds later as Moravian pulled within two points, and Johnson added two more free throws as the Greyhounds tied the game at 63-63 with 2:31 left. Farrell put the Royals back in front, 65-63, with a layup before Strayhorn hit two free throws to tie again with 57 seconds to play. That would be the final points of regulation.
Strayhorn gave the Greyhounds a 67-65 lead with a jumper on the first possession of the overtime but Swaback answered with a three-pointer to put Scranton up 68-67. The back-and-forth continued with Strayhorn putting Moravian back in front, 70-68, on a three-point play. Strayhorn added two more free throws to give the Greyhounds a 72-68 advantage while Farrell would get two free throws for Scranton to get the Royals back within two points at 72-70 with 2:42 on the clock. Hawk tied the game with a lay-up with 1:04 to play, and then Hawk gave the Royals a 74-72 lead with a pair of free throws.
Strayhorn would drive down the court and scored on a lay-up to tie the game at 74-74 before Danzig hit a jumper in the lane to give Scranton a 76-74 lead. Moravian turned over the ball on its next possession, and Swaback hit two free throws with five seconds to play to lift Scranton to the victory.
In the second half, the Royals made 14-of-28 (50 percent) field goal attempts in the second half and overtime, and Scranton connected on 3-of-7 three-pointers and 11-of-16 free throws in the final 25 minutes of the game. The Royals finished with a 38-34 advantage in rebounds including 14-5 on the offensive boards, and Scranton made 18 turnovers in the game while forcing Moravian into 23 turnovers. The Greyhounds were 11-for-29 (37.9 percent) from the floor and 15-of-16 at the foul line in the second half and overtime, but Moravian missed all six of its three-point attempts in the final 25 minutes.
Strayhorn led all scorers with a game high 27 points including all nine by Moravian in the overtime session to go with four steals and three rebounds for Moravian while Cullen added a career best 14 points, and he had a team high seven rebounds to go with two steals. Johnson tossed in 12 points for the Greyhounds with four boards and three steals while Gula finished with nine points and three boards. Hardy contributed six rebounds, two points and three assists for Moravian while Thieme grabbed six rebounds to go with three blocked shots, two steals and two points. Freshman guard Izel Dickerson added three points and two assists for the Greyhounds while senior forward Jeff Cullinan had three points and three boards. Pankonien added two points.
Scranton had five players in double figures with Morgan leading the way with 17 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Hawk had 15 points and four boards for the Royals while Swaback and Farrell each tossed in 13 points with Swaback adding five rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots and Farrell contributing five boards, three steals and two assists. Lavelle scored 11 points to go with two assists while Danzig finished with seven points and four rebounds.
Moravian will return to action on Monday, December 6th in a non-conference game at Rutgers-Newark tipping off at 7:00 p.m.