Spot in the Sweet 16 on the line Saturday when CUA faces Williams

Spot in the Sweet 16 on the line Saturday when CUA faces Williams

WASHINGTON - A spot in the Sweet 16 is on the line Saturday afternoon when CUA makes the long trek to Massachusetts to face Williams in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals, appearing in their first tourney since 2007, defeated Staten Island in the 1st Round on March 2 by a score of 67-61. Nate Koenig netted a season-high 19 points, while classmate Shawn Holmes added 17 points, five assists and three rebounds.

CUA ranks 8th in the nation and leads the Landmark Conference in scoring defense, holding teams to 57.6 points per game.  The Cardinals also lead the conference in field goal percentage defense, limiting opponents to 38.3 percent shooting (13th nationally).

CUA leads the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.68) and ranks 2nd in fewest turnovers per game (9.4). The Cardinals have committed single-digit TOs 16 times this season.

Bryson Fonville is the third leading shooter in the Landmark Conference, hitting 52.7 percent of his shots from the field. The first-year point guard scored a career-high 21 points in a postseason win over Merchant Marine Academy on February 20, and is averaging a team-high 15.2 points on 52 percent shooting in his last five.

CUA is 23-0 this season when allowing fewer than 70 points. The Cardinals are only 2-3 however, when they give up 70 or more.

The Cardinals are playing in their 14th NCAA Tournament this season. Saturday marks CUA's 19th tourney game played on the road or at a neutral site. The Cards are 8-10 in the first 18, with their last road or neutral win coming in the 2001 National Championship game in Salem, Va. against William Paterson.

CUA is 21-0 this season when leading at halftime. Dating back to last season, the Cardinals have won 27 consecutive games when leading at intermission.

At 24-4, Williams is the 9th ranked team in the country, according to Three of the Ephs losses this season have come against archrival Amherst, including a one-point setback in the NESCAC championship on February 24.

Williams has four players averaging double digits, led by All-Conference selections Taylor Epley (18.3) and Michael Mayer (17.3). Mayer is the top rebounder (9.0), and Nate Robertson hands out 4.6 assists per game. The Ephs are 4th in the nation in field goal percentage (50.3), 10th in scoring margin (14.0), 25th in scoring offense (79.5), and 28th in 3-point percentage (38.7). They have won 10 of 12 home games in 2012-13, including a NCAA Tournament 1st Round victory.

Despite all of their combined success, these two programs have never met in men's basketball. CUA captured the 2001 Division III National Championship, while Williams won it all in 2003.

For more information on Saturday's 2nd Round matchup, check out the CUA game notes

CUA and Williams are slated for a 4 p.m. tip on Saturday afternoon. Links for live video and stats can be found here.