Cardinals outlasted by Scranton 78-68

Cardinals outlasted by Scranton 78-68

WASHINGTON – Senior R.J. Dixon scored a team-high 24 points and classmate Jason Banzhaf notched a double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds, but it was not enough as CUA fell to Scranton on Friday evening 78-68 inside the DuFour Center.  With the loss the Cardinals drop to 11-6 overall and 2-4 in the Landmark Conference, while the Royals up their mark to 13-2 overall and 6-0 in the league.

A Chris Kearney layup with 14:30 to go in the game pulled CUA to within three at 47-44, which was the closest the Cardinals had been since 4:29 remained in the first half.  A Scranton three-pointer down the other end gave the Royals a six-point cushion though and two minutes later CUA found itself down 10.

Dixon's jumper with 8:09 on the clock made it a six-point affair, 59-53, and after CUA got a defensive stop, the Cardinals looked to cut into Scranton's lead even further.  Banzhaf then got a terrific look at a three-pointer from near the top of the key, but his attempt was off the mark and the Royals capitalized with four straight to go in front by 10.

The Cardinals made one final run and got to within five on a Banzhaf basket with 3:34 to play, but Scranton scored the next eight points to open up a 71-58 advantage with only 1:22 to play.  The Royals then made 7 of 10 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Kearney scored six points for CUA off the bench as did Spencer Reed, while Nate Koenig and Brian Baker added five apiece.  Shawn Holmes dished out four assists and registered a game-high seven steals.

CUA struggled from the free throw line all evening, hitting only 6 of 15 attempts (40 percent).

Zach Ashworth netted a game-high 31 points for the visitors, including five three-pointers and a 12 of 16 showing at the foul line.  Travis Farrell added nine points and 10 boards and as a team Scranton shot 52 percent in the second half, up from just 33 percent in the opening 20 minutes.

The Cardinals led 11-7 in the early going following a layup by Holmes, but Scranton scored four straight to tie the game at 11. Several minutes later, Banzhaf answered a Royals three-pointer with a bucket of his own to put CUA on top 22-19, but again Scranton scored four straight and this time took a one-point lead.

With under three minutes remaining in the opening half Scranton opened up a six-point advantage that was capped by two free throws from Travis Farrell, and following an Edmond O'Connell three-pointer with 1:40 on the clock, CUA found itself down 40-31.

A jumper by Dixon and layup by Reed in the final 1:32 brought CUA within five, as it went into intermission trailing 40-35.  There were six ties and seven lead changes in the opening half.

CUA will host Moravian on Saturday afternoon in another Landmark Conference showdown.  Tip-off from inside the DuFour Center is set for 2 p.m.