CUA Pulls Out 69-67 Victory in CAC Semifinal

CUA Pulls Out 69-67 Victory in CAC Semifinal

CUA Pulls Out 69-67 Victory in CAC Semifinal
Cardinals advance to the championship game on Saturday.


WASHINGTON - It took a team effort but the Catholic University men's basketball squad (21-5) managed to come away with the 69-67 victory over the Mary Washington Eagles (16-10) Thursday evening at the DuFour Center.  With the win CUA has advanced to the Capital Athletic Conference championship game on Saturday versus Hood.

The Cardinals came out flat allowing Mary Washington take a commanding twelve-point lead midway through the first half.  With the Eagles hitting everything from the outside and CUA unable to connect from anywhere on the court it looked as if the Cards were in for a long night.  However, at 7:26 Patrick Dwyer (Williamsburg, Va./Walsingham Academy) hit two free throws igniting a game changing ten-point run that quieted the riotous UMW fans and awoke the CUA faithful.  With the DuFour Center rocking the Cards were able to keep it close going into the locker room down 32-29.

Dwyer was the high scorer in the half with eight points and six rebounds.  Scott Fumai (Rockville, Md./Good Counsel) scored seven and Stephen Wheeler (Silver Spring, Md./Good Counsel) added six points as well as six rebounds.  CUA was outshot 44-29 percent after the tough start to the game.  CUA did control the boards 24-19.

The second half was just as wild as the end of the first as the Cardinals attempted to gain ground on the Eagles.  At 9:32 Nick Olivero (Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson) hit two free throws which put CUA ahead for the first time in the half.  The Cards used powerful offensive rebounding to keep the advantage but were never really able to get out of UMW's grasp.  Free throws were the key as CUA was forced to prove themselves at the line down the stretch.  In the final two minutes CUA was 5-7 on free throws while Mary Washington was 2-2.  The Cardinals' size advantage in the middle also played a part in the game as each loose ball rebound resulted in a scrum in the lane.  Despite a solid three-point attempt by Justin Baker, the Cardinals came away with the 69-67 win.

Dwyer led the Cards with 20 points and 13 rebounds.  His classmates also got into the act with Wheeler scoring 16 and Fumai notching 15.  CUA outrebounded UMW 50-32 but was outshot 43-33 percent.  The Eagles also protected the ball better accumulating just five turnovers to the Cardinals' 11.

With Hood defeating St. Mary's in the other semifinal, the Cards will be on the road for the first time in the 2007 CAC Tournament.  CUA will travel to Hood on Saturday for the championship game at 7:00 p.m.  The game will decide not only who wins the conference but who will receive the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.