CUA off to best start ever after Cardinals earn 1,200th victory

CUA off to best start ever after Cardinals earn 1,200th victory

WASHINGTON – By downing MCLA 85-71 on Saturday in the opening round of the CUA Residence Inn-Greenbelt Classic, CUA achieved a double-dose of history.  The Cardinals earned their 1,200th win in school history and their 11-0 start to the season is the best ever in 101 years of CUA basketball.

CUA led by 10 at halftime, 39-29, and Andy Roell's 3-pointer early in the second pushed the lead to 13.

Chris Harris' layup at the 12:59 mark cut the Cardinals advantage down to seven, but back-to-back baskets by Steve Limberiou and Nate Koenig upped the lead back to double figures.

MCLA continued to hang around, getting to within eight on Michael Young's bucket at the 5:45 mark, but three Shawn Holmes free throws and a Chris Kearney jumper soon gave the Cardinals a 13-point bulge.

A pair of free throws by Koenig with 2:35 on the clock pushed CUA's lead to 15, and after Limberiou nailed a 3-pointer with 1:23 remaining the Cardinals were comfortably in front by 18 and on their way to win No. 11.

Limberiou led a quartet of Cardinals in double figures with 19 points on 6 of 7 shooting.  Holmes netted 18, grabbed six boards and handed out four assists, while Koenig scored 14 and Kearney added 11.

CUA wound up shooting 57% from the floor, bolstered by a 60% performance in the final 20 minutes, and the Cardinals also sank 20 of 28 foul shots (71%).

Harris finished with 17 points to lead MCLA, while Tyriq Rochester (12) and Tyrell Mosley (10) joined him in double figures.

The first half was very tight during the early going, with Darrell Carroll's layup at the 9:50 mark pulling CUA within one, 21-20.

Koenig's free throw then tied it, and an old-fashioned three-point play by Holmes put CUA in front 24-21.

Koenig's trifecta with 4:15 to play before halftime upped CUA's lead to six, and the Cardinals finished the half by scoring four of the final six points for a 39-29 lead at intermission.

In Saturday's second game, No. 24 Buffalo State and Wesleyan engaged in an exciting, back-and-forth affair with the Bengals outlasting the Cardinals 80-77.  Wesleyan had a chance to tie it, but Mike Callaghan's 3-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer.

Callaghan and Jason Mendell led Wesleyan with 19 points apiece, while Buffalo State received 18 points from Nico McLean and Jake Simmons.

On Sunday, CUA and Buffalo State will battle it out for the tournament championship beginning at 4 p.m. from inside the DuFour Center.  Wesleyan and MCLA meet at 2 in the consolation game.