WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – In another close game, the No. 23 Susquehanna University men's basketball team prevailed with clutch free throw shooting and an 11-point advantage in the second half as the River Hawks downed Gwynedd Mercy University, 80-74, Saturday afternoon in the FNCB Monarch Classic Championship hosted by King's College at McCrane Gymnasium.
It was the second straight FNCB Monarch Classic tournament championship for the River Hawks (7-1) as it also won its seventh straight game of the season.
After being outscored 38-33 in the first half and falling behind by as much as 11, Susquehanna came out with a quick 8-0 run in the second to take the lead but Gwynedd Mercy countered with a 5-0 run to retake the lead. But the Griffins couldn't pull away as its biggest lead in the second half was just five. Gwynedd Mercy's last lead came with a little under nine minutes remaining but the River Hawks gained the lead for good on two Jeff Dzierzawiec free throws with 8:19 remaining. Susquehanna led by as much as seven when Ryan Traub hit a layup with 2:42 to go. The Griffins cut that lead down to two with 1:36 remaining but Steven Weidlich hit two free throws to make it a four-point game. Tyler Hoagland and Dalton Reichard hit 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to put the game away. Susquehanna outscored Gwynedd Mercy 47-36 in the second half.
Four River Hawks scored in double-figures led by 18 points apiece from Traub and Landmark Conference leading scorer Weidlich. Traub, who is fourth in the conference in scoring, added six rebounds and two blocks. Weidlich added four rebounds and three assists. Dzierzawiec, in just his second game of the season, scored a season-high 11 points off the bench to go along with three rebounds and two assists. Reichard scored 10 points with six assists and five rebounds. Hoagland pitched in six assists and five points. Senior Danny Weiss added eight points off the bench.