Catholic 71, Scranton 66

Nov. 30, 2002

SCRANTON, Pa. - Matt Hilleary scored 17 of his 21 points after halftime and blocked five shots to lead the No. 5 Catholic University men's basketball team to a 71-66 victory over the University of Scranton at the John J. Long Center on Saturday.

Hilleary, a senior preseason first-team All-American, hit nine of 12 shots and gathered six rebounds for the 3-0 Cardinals. Junior reserve Blair Mills added 12 points - 10 in the first half - and six rebounds, and senior Craig Avallone had 10 points and seven boards.

Scranton senior Derek Elphick led all scorers with 27 points, and sophomore Brian O'Donnell posted his third consecutive double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Senior Dan Loftus added seven points, six boards and six assists.

After the Royals (2-2) used a 14-7 run to trim CUA's 12-point lead to 57-52 with 4:48 to go, Hilleary got a slam dunk off one of senior Kevin Wise's seven assists and then hit a short jumper to put the Cards on top, 61-52, with 2:51 left. CUA salted the win by hitting 10 of its final 12 free throws.

CUA, which has won six in a row against Scranton, led by nine in the first half before taking a 30-25 lead into the break. Hilleary scored the Cardinals' first six points in the second period, and following an Avallone jumper in the lane, led 38-30 at the 16:37 mark.

The Royals scored the next five points - four by Elphick in the paint - to trail 38-35. CUA answered with a 12-3 run to go up 50-38 with 9:47 remaining. Junior William Morley scored six points during the run, including a run-closing 3-point play.

The Cardinals return to action Monday night when they host Villa Julie at 8 p.m.