Ticket to the dance will be punched on Saturday night

Ticket to the dance will be punched on Saturday night

WASHINGTON - A champion will be crowned Saturday evening when top-seeded CUA meets third-seeded Juniata for the 2013 Landmark Conference championship. The Cardinals earned a hard-fought 65-57 win over fourth-seeded Merchant Marine Academy on Wednesday in the semifinals, behind a career-high 21 points from freshman Bryson Fonville, which came on 7 of 14 shooting.

The Cardinals are a perfect 13-0 inside the DuFour Center this season. CUA is holding opponents to 55.9 points on 35.5% shooting from the field and 29.1% from three at home.

Saturday's championship features the top two 3-point shooters in the Landmark Conference. Juniata's Brian Scholly leads the way at 48.9 percent, while CUA's Steve Limberiou is second at 48.1 percent. Scholly leads the conference in made trifectas, sinking 87, with Limberiou ranking third with 65.

Freshman Bryson Fonville is the second leading shooter in the Landmark Conference, hitting 53.9 percent of his shots from the field. The first-year point guard scored a career-high 21 points in Wednesday's win, and is averaging 17.7 points on 57.6 percent shooting in his last three.

CUA is 21-0 this season when allowing fewer than 70 points. The Cardinals are only 2-3 however, when they give up 70 or more.

CUA is appearing in its 14th conference championship game and second Landmark Conference title bout. The Cardinals have gone 8-5 in the first 13 games.

Cardinals' Head Coach Steve Howes will be coaching in his 30th career postseason game this weekend. He enters with a record of 18-11.

Juniata has won five of its past six, including a thrilling double overtime win at Scranton on Wednesday in the conference semifinals. The Eagles rallied from a 10-point deficit with less than four minutes remaining in regulation to force the extra session, and ultimately wound up prevailing in the second overtime.

Brian Scholly and Jeremy Hays netted 22 points apiece, and the Eagles sank 18 of 22 free throws (81.8%) as a team. Scholly is one of four Juniata players averaging double-digit points (16.4), and Kevin Stapleton is the leading rebounder (6.0). Hays leads the Landmark Conference in assists, averaging 4.7 per game.

CUA and Juniata meet for the 15th time Saturday evening with the Eagles holding a slim 8-6 lead. The teams have split their last four meetings, with the home team winning every game. CUA earned a 62-53 win in Washington earlier this month. The Cardinals and Eagles have never met in the Landmark Conference Tournament.

Check out the CUA game notes for more information on Saturday's championship.

CUA and Juniata will throw the ball up at 6 p.m. on Saturday in the second game of a championship doubleheader. The Cardinal women play host to Scranton at 3 with a spot in the NCAA Tournament on the line.

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