SELINSGROVE — That Susquehanna pressed and pressed Drew throughout Wednesday’s game was no gimmick.

“It was all about us,” said SU coach Frank Marcinek. “The players deserve all the credit for executing the game plan.”

SU’s press left Drew under duress the entire game, as the River Hawks built a 22-point halftime lead and cruised over the Rangers, 79-54, at O.W. Houts Gymnasium.

“Defensively, that was the best 40 minutes we’ve put together all season,” said River Hawks captain Bryce Butler. “For us, it isn’t about matchups or who starts on a player or who finishes. It’s about each of us guarding every player and filling the gaps.”

Susquehanna’s defensive flow was evident from the jump.

Drew overcame a pair of 8-2 spurts — cutting its deficit to 8-7 and 18-14 — but after the Rangers’ latter push the River Hawks finished the half well. Susquehanna (15-7 overall, 8-3, Landmark Conference) used a 14-0 run to build a 32-14 advantage and preserved that margin to halftime.

“We knew they’d want revenge after we won at their place,” said SU’s Jay Martin. “That was all the motivation that we needed. We’re fighting for first place in the conference, and being at home in the playoffs is important to us.”

Drew (17-5, 8-3) scored the first 10 points out of halftime to pull within a dozen (44-32). Butler had a resounding answer, sinking consecutive 3-pointers to put the River Hawks up 18.

“I was fortunate and lucky to be in that position to make those shots,” Butler said. “We have a lot of great shooters on this team. Sometimes, I don’t make that shot. Others, do.”

Butler’s treys sparked a 13-2 run which put Susquehanna in control for good. The Rangers still had no answer for the SU press, turning the ball over 12 more times in the second half after 12 giveaways before half. Drew also struggled to overcome a 31.8 percent effort from the field in the first half.

“I think a lot of times our defense is our best offense,” Butler said. “It definitely pays off.”

Butler paced Susquehanna with 19 points, while Mike Kempski added 12. Martin, Lukas Yurasits and Danny Frauenheim each added nine in victory. Susquehanna split 15 steals among 10 players, with Frauenheim leading the way with four.

Riley Collins, the fuel in Drew’s engine, was limited to 11 points and turned over the ball five times against SU’s press.

“We needed to really cut the head off of their dragon, which was Collins, and I thought we did a great job of that,” Marcinek said.

SUSQUEHANNA 79, DREW 54

Drew (17-5, 8-3) 54

Howard McBurnie Jr. 1-6 0-0 2; Lybrant Robinson 5-10 2-2 14; Malachi Walker Jr. 2-4 0-0 5; Riley Collins 3-9 4-4 11; Michael Boice 1-4 2-2 4; David Gervase 1-4 0-0 3; Michael Kane 2-3 0-0 5; Drew Gallagher 0-1 2-2 2; Miles Lewis 1-3 2-2 4; Dylan Musial 0-3 0-0 0; Carter Truby 0-1 0-0 0; Jake Tarabokija 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 17-50 14-14 54

Susquehanna (15-7, 8-3) 79

Matt LaCorte 1-7 0-0 2; Zach Knecht 4-9 0-1 8; Danny Frauenheim 4-6 0-0 9; Lukas Yurasits 4-13 0-0 9; Bryce Butler 6-8 3-3 19; Jay Martin 3-8 3-4 9; Quincy Haughton 1-2 3-4 5; Wes Simons 1-3 2-2 4; Mike Kempski 5-7 0-0 12; Jordan Harnum 0-1 0-0 0; Jack Van Syckle 1-1 0-0 2; Howie Rankine 0-1 0-0 0; Joe’l Morris 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 30-68 11-14 79

Halftime: Susquehanna 44-22. 3-point goals: Drew 6-27 (McBurnie 0-2; Robinson 2-7; Walker 1-2; Collins 1-3; Boice 0-1; Gervase 1-4; Kane 1-1; Gallagher 0-1; Lewis 0-2; Musial 0-2; Truby 0-1; Tarabokija 0-1), Susquehanna 8-16 (LaCorte 0-4; Frauenheim 1-2; Yurasits 1-2; Butler 4-4; Martin 0-1; Kempski 2-2; Morris 0-1). Rebounds: Drew 31 (McBurnie 6), Susquehanna 42 (Yurasits 8). Assists: Drew 7 (Collins, Gallagher 2), Susquehanna 14 (Frauenheim 5). Turnovers: Drew 24, Susquehanna 16. Total fouls: Drew 15, Susquehanna 14. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None. A: 243.

Recommended for you