Cardinals Down Royals, 71-61

Cardinals Down Royals, 71-61


Cardinals Down Royals, 71-61
Fumai scores 20


SCRANTON, Pa. - The Catholic University men's basketball team (4-0) stayed undefeated with a 71-61 victory over the University of Scranton Royals (1-1) Saturday afternoon.  The Cards saw a big first half lead dwindle but came out with the win.

After CUA won the tip the Royals soon found out they were outmatched in the paint as the Cardinals managed six lay ups to go up by as many as twelve points nine minutes in.  Pat Dwyer (Williamsburg, Va./Walsingham Academy), Stephen Wheeler (Silver Spring, Md./Good Counsel) and freshman Danny Quinn (Annapolis, Md./Archbishop Spalding) used drop steps, tip ins and even took defenders off of the dribble to get lay up after lay up.  

Scranton began to hit from the outside, but CUA kept pounding it into the middle.  Just as it looked as if the Cards wouldn't take an outside shot, Scott Fumai (Rockville, Md./Good Counsel) hit a three at the top of the arc spark the Cardinals.

Jeff Sparrow's (Reading, Pa./Daniel Boone) three point play after a fast  break lay up made it 32-18 with three minutes to go in the first.  Steven Papageorge's similar play a minute later gave the Cardinals a comfortable 35-23 lead they were able to carry into the break.

CUA shot 45.5% for the half with Fumai and Wheeler each scoring seven to lead the way.  Dwyer added five points and seven rebounds.  The Cards had eight turnovers in the first 20 but also notched four steals.

To start the second half the Cardinals began where they left off with Wheeler coming up with a steal in the lane and Fumai connected from long range on the other end.  Sparrow hit a three on the next trip down the court to keep the team rolling.  However, CUA soon stalled allowing easy Scranton baskets as the Cards couldn't get it in the middle.

When the Cardinal offense slowed, the Royals chipped away at the deficit and brought it within five with nine minutes left to play.  Dwyer's reverse lay up was little help as he picked up his fourth foul on the next play putting the Royals into the bonus.

Scranton forward Paul Hawk hit a long three at 6:46 to make the score 55-51, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.  Still down four, Hawk hit another from outside to put the Royals within one as the Cardinal offense sputtered.  After a CUA turnover, Scranton came down and put in a lay up to go up 58-57.

Fumai made two free throws to go back up and Mike Wasilenko (Washington Township, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) hit two more off of a controversial backcourt foul.  With Papageorge adding a layup off of a cut to the basket the Cards were back in control 63-58 with 2:46 left.

As the time ticked off Papageorge came up with another lay up underneath and Wheeler supplied rejection on the defensive end forcing the Royals to start fouling.  When the final whistle sounded, CUA had the 71-61 victory.

Fumai led all scorers with 20 points and Sparrow added 12.  In Papageorge's first game of the season after he was forced out with an injury, the senior had 10.  Paul Biagioli led the Royals with 14.  CUA had 44 rebounds to Scranton's 26 but also committed 14 turnovers while U of S only gave it away nine times.

The Cards will host their first game of the season with a conference contest against the St. Mary's on Wednesday at the DuFour Center.  Tip off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.