MEN’S BASKETBALL: Marywood Grabs Share Of Atlantic East Lead

January 24, 2019

SCRANTON — Eleven months ago when Marywood University knocked off Gwynedd-Mercy on the Griffins’ home court, many around the Pacers program considered it an upset. After Marywood beat the Griffins, 84-69, for a share of the Atlantic East lead Wednesday night, Pacers senior Thomas Swartz had a different thought. “Creating a little rivalry, I guess,” Swartz said after his 18-point, eight-rebound effort. “We had five guys in double figures so people were hitting shots. We were playing unselfish. “Overall, a great team win.” Maybe more than that. Marywood dominated the glass, 46-33, and used precise ball movement to post what may be the signature victory in program history — to date. “I grew up in Scranton,” Pacers head coach Enrico Mastroianni said. “I know what the history of the program has been. I’ve tried to explain to our guys we need to change culture, where winning is expected. We’re there. “These guys don’t know any different. Guys we brought in, they don’t know Marywood losing. We’re playing tough sophomores. They came in and won 16 games as freshmen. Why are we looking anywhere else but up?” No one was tougher than 6-2 sophomore forward Jaden Rhoden, who scored 17 points but controlled the boards with a dozen rebounds, helping limit the Griffins to just five offensive rebounds through the game’s first 30 minutes. “Rebounds are the easiest thing,” Rhoden said. “It’s just all about hustle. I like rebounding so I’m going to keep doing it. “As a team we’re getting there. It’s a great win. They’re a really good team. We couldn’t take them lightly. We just had to do everything coach said. We followed the game plan. We just played our hearts out, just trusted everyone and came out with a win today.” It’s been a team effort that’s improved over the last handful of games. “We had been getting beat on the boards until the last few we started to lock in and make a commitment to it,” Mastroianni said. “It’s hard to drill rebounding. It’s hard to get better at that. You either want the ball or you don’t. “Our guys today came in with purpose. They’re a physical team. Their guards rebound. Some of their guards average seven rebounds per game.” It was Marywood’s work off the glass that helped them pull away, with senior center Jeremy Ringland following his own miss to put the victors ahead to stay, 35-34, 3 minutes into the second half. While Donovan Catchings and Tone Cockrell, who had six assists, were each scoring 11, Jack DeGroot chipped in with 12, including back-to-back 3-point plays that pushed the lead to 53-41 with 10 minutes left. The Griffins never got it to single digits as Marywood pulled away. “Second-chance efforts, when we get those we usually win the game,” Mastroianni said. “You can see when the guys were going hard at the rim they didn’t quit. Even when they thought they were fouled.” But that effort didn’t match what the Pacers did on the other end. “To me, we won the game defensively because that’s a team that scores a lot of points,” Mastroianni said. “We had to be better defensively today to win the game.” Contact the writer: mmyers@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100, ext. 5437; @mmyersTT on Twitter Gwynedd Mercy (13-6, 5-1) — R. Dunham 8-2-6 20, C. Cubbage 3 7-10 14, C. Wolfe 5 1-2 11, G. Barton 2 0-0 4, S. Siewion 0 0-0 0, J. Seigafuse 1 0-0 2, M. Sommers 2 0-0 4, J. Perkins 1 0-0 2, S. Ford 0 0-0 0, J. Henry 2 0-0 6, D. Spencer 1 0-0 2, J. Peebles 1 0-0 2. Totals: 26 10-18 69. Marywood (13-6, 5-1) — T. Swartz 6 3-4 18, J. Rhoden 5 7-7 17, J. DeGroot 5 2-2 12, D. Catchings 4 3-4 11, T. Cockrell 2 6-8 11, J. Ringland 4 1-2 9, A. Boussetta 2 0-0 4, Z. Tinkham 1 0-0 2, J. Monaghan 0 0-0 0, J. Horsley 0 0-0 0. Totals: 29 22-27 84. 3-point goals: Dunham 2, Sommers 2, Henry 2, Cubbage. Swartz 3, Cockrell.

Update hourly