Cards Give Up Big Lead in 92-88 Loss
CUA will play in Taylor consolation on Saturday
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C.- The Catholic University men's basketball squad lost a 19-point second half lead to fall 92-88 to the Piedmont Lions (4-1) in the opening round of the Roger Taylor Invitational Friday evening. CUA controlled the game until midway through the second when the Lions mounted a 16-2 run to take the lead with 6:01 remaining. With the loss the Cards drop to 3-3 on the season.
The Cards started out strong in the first half jumping out to a seven point lead at the 8:30 mark thanks to a three-pointer from Matt Fazzini (Wayne, Pa./Conestoga). CUA was up by as much as twelve late in the half and held on for a 45-38 advantage at the break. Freshmen Jason Banzhaf (Livingston, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) and Tommy Haselden (Charlotte, N.C./Vance) each had nine points in the first as the frontcourt duo held their own in the lane against preseason all-American center Jake Baldwin who had 16 for the half. Banzhaf also posted seven rebounds while Baldwin managed just two. The Cards outrebounded the Lions 21-10 and shot an impressive 62.5 percent from the field.
Beginning the second half it looked as if CUA had the game under control as they continued their accuate shooting and solid rebounding. The Cards staged an 18-6 run to open the half putting them up by as much as 19 with 14 minutes remaining. Banzhaf gave CUA its biggest lead of the contest with a jumper to make it 63-44. With a comfortable lead, the Cardinals were holding a majority of Lion attacks at bay, but everything changed at the 11 minute mark when Baldwin sparked the 16-2 run. The center scored just six points during the flurry of Lion points but contributed with a number of rebounds and assists as the Cards went ice cold from the field. CUA regained the lead one more time but a pair of Piedmont free throws tied it up with three minutes left to play. As the seconds ticked away the Cards hit a pair of three's and a layup to keep it close but couldn't get past the Lions who won 92-88.
Haselden led the Cards with 16 points and also had four rebounds. Banzhaf was the second leading scorer with 15 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Sophomore Danny Quinn (Annapolis, Md./Archbishop Spalding) added 10 points and four rebounds showing how much the big men dominated the game for both sides. Baldwin led the Lions with 30 points, four below his season average, and seven rebounds. The Cards shot 56.9 percent for the contest while the Lions posted 50.8 percent from the field. CUA outrebounded Piedmont 40-24 but had 21 turnovers to their 12.
CUA will face the University of Maine-Presque Isle on Saturday in the consolation game at 1 p.m.