West Scranton graduate Enrico Mastroianni picked up his 100th career college coaching victory Saturday afternoon when the Marywood men’s basketball team led the entire second half of an 87-80 victory over visiting Elizabethtown College.
The Marywood program has been picking up momentum in its five seasons under Mastroianni.
The Atlantic East Conference named Mastroianni as its Coach of the Year following the 2018-19 season when the Pacers set a program record for wins in a season with 17, made the conference playoffs, then picked up their first-ever postseason victory with a win in the first round of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament.
A year earlier, Marywood set a program for conference victories with 10 and matched what had been its record for overall season wins with 15.
Under Mastroianni, the team and its players have also won several academic awards, including consecutive seasons as the Colonial States Athletic Conference Team Academic award winner for highest Grade Point Average and as a recipient of the National Association of Basketball Coaches Academic Excellence Award.
Mastroianni had previously served for three seasons as the first-ever coach of the new program at Georgian Court University, a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II school in Lakewood, N.J.
Saturday’s win allowed Marywood to improve to 5-6 heading into a break until a Dec. 30 game at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y. Elizabethtown dropped to 3-4.
The Pacers trailed by as many as nine in the first half and did not lead until the last three minutes. They went to break up 41-40, began the second half with a 10-4 run and stayed in front the rest of the way.
Marywood clinched the win by hitting all 10 of its free throws in the final 1:36.
Jack DeGroot, who is averaging 21.3 points on the season, again led the team with 24 points.
The victory also served as a break-out game for two former District 2 players.
Jake Curnow, a freshman from Lakeland, and Jason Holman, a sophomore from Riverside, reached career-highs in scoring.
Curnow had 19 points, including 13 in the first half, in his first college start. Curnow was 8-for-14 from the floor, making his only 3-point attempt, and also made both free throws. The 6-foot-5 forward shared the team lead with eight rebounds and dished out four assists.
Holman, in just his second start, added 13 points by making 5 of 8 shots. The 6-6 forward had scored 11 in his first start when Marywood won its previous outing, 87-79, over Misericordia Dec. 7.
In that game, DeGroot scored 32 points to offset a 28-point effort by Misericordia’s Noah Rivera.
Zach Tinkham added 16 points for Marywood Saturday.