Cardinals will play for ECAC title after downing La Roche
HUNTINGDON, Pa. – CUA advanced to its second straight ECAC championship game on Saturday after the Cardinals defeated La Roche 66-58. Shawn Holmes led CUA with 14 points, while Steve Limberiou scored 13 and Chris Kearney pulled down 11 rebounds. The win is the 150th for CUA Head Coach Steve Howes.
For the second straight game CUA started slowly, falling behind 11-1 in the first six minutes. The Cardinals rebounded quickly though, pulling to within two on an old-fashioned three-point play by Holmes, and tying things at 13 on Kearney's jumper at the 9:20 mark.
Steve Limberiou's layup with 5:21 to go before the half tied the score at 17 and Billy Donovan's basket a little over a minute later gave the Cardinals their first lead of the afternoon.
La Roche responded by going ahead by three, but back-to-back layups from Andy Roell and Pete Schramm gave the lead back to CUA with 1:12 remaining.
Limberiou then closed the half with a basket in the final minute to send the Cards into halftime with a 25-22 advantage.
The Cardinals opened up the second half with a 15-4 run to extend their lead to 14 points with 14:45 left to play.
La Roche was able to cut it to an eight-point lead by the Cardinals when Andre Flanigan splashed a 3-pointer at the 9:53 mark, but Nelson Mendez got inside for a hoop and CUA went back in front by double digits.
With 5:17 left to play, Donovan drilled a trifecta and the Cardinals were on top by 13, and after the sophomore sank another shot from deep with 2:49 remaining, CUA found itself ahead by 15.
CUA never let La Roche get any closer than eight the rest of the way, sending the Cardinals to their 19th win of the season.
CUA committed only 11 turnovers and the Cardinals pulled down 14 of their 48 rebounds on the offensive end. Donovan finished with 8 points, while Darrell Carroll and Kearney both netted 11.
Flanigan led La Roche with 18 points, while Michael Dixon scored 10. CUA held the Redbirds to 33.8% shooting from the floor and 28% from 3-point range.
CUA now looks for its first ECAC championship since 1986 when the Cardinals take on Alvernia on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. The game will be played in Huntingdon, Pa. on the campus of Juniata College. The Eagles fell to Alvernia in Saturday's first semifinal.