Cardinals to host CCNY in first round of NCAA Tournament

WASHINGTON The No. 15 Catholic University men's basketball team will host City College of New York (CCNY) in the first round of the 48-team NCAA Division III Tournament at DuFour Center on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The winner will advance to play at Widener (21-5), which received a first-round bye, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The Cardinals (22-5), who have won 10 straight games, received an automatic bid to the playoffs by winning the Capital Athletic Conference championship Saturday, 61-59 over Marymount. CCNY (14-14) earned an automatic berth by winning the City University of New York Athletic Conference Tournament. The eighth-seeded Beavers had to win four games for the title, including a 77-69 victory over second-seeded Staten Island in the championship game.

CCNY leads the all-time series with CUA, 5-3. The Cardinals won the last meeting 76-55 at DuFour Center on Jan. 8, 2000.

The Cards are making their fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and sixth in Coach Mike Lonergan's nine years at CUA. They are the only Division III team in the nation to advance to the past three Sweet 16s, including last year's first-ever trip to the Elite Eight. Their record of 94-21 (.817) over the past four seasons includes a 50-6 (.893) mark in CAC regular season play.

The Cardinals began the season in the Division I Mohegan Sun Classic in New Britain, Conn. After losing to Columbia, 63-58, in the opener, CUA upset Albany (N.Y.) 59-56 for the school's first win over a Division I team since 1981. The Cardinals hosted two tournaments and won them both: the CUA Pepsi Classic and the inaugural Classic.

CUA's 8-2 record on the road included its fourth consecutive victory over Scranton, 69-64 in late November. After beginning CAC play 1-2, with both losses at home, the team won 10 of its next 11 league contests to finish 11-3 and claim its fourth straight CAC regular season title.