WASHINGTON - After riding a career-high 29 points by Shawn Holmes to a 77-72 win over Gwynedd-Mercy on Wednesday, CUA heads to Huntingdon, Pa. this weekend seeking its first ECAC title since 1986. The Cardinals will face La Roche on Saturday afternoon, with host Juniata taking on Alvernia earlier in the day. The two winners will then meet on Sunday in the title game.
CUA overcame a slow start on Wednesday to earn its 18th win of the season, outscoring the Griffins 36-31 after halftime, while La Roche picked up a 78-68 victory vs. DeSales to move into the semifinal round.
Steve Limberiou is having a freshman season to remember. His 358 points this season are the most by a CUA freshman since Pat Maloney netted 359 during the 1997-98 season.
Under Steve Howes, CUA is 16-6 on neutral floors, including 1-0 this season.
The Cardinals enter the weekend ranked 15th in the nation in free throw percentage, knocking down 75.9%. CUA has shot 76% or better in eight of its last nine games, including a 27 of 28 showing vs. Moravian on January 28.
Holmes and Nelson Mendez both posted career performances in CUA's win over Gwynedd-Mercy on Wednesday. Holmes sank 8 of 14 shots from the floor, including 5 of 6 3-pointers, and made all eight of his free throws en route to a career-high 29 points. Nelson meanwhile, played a career-high 25 minutes off the bench and came up with a career-best 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting.
The Cardinals have played in 11 postseason games over the last four seasons, including four Landmark Conference Tournament games and seven in the ECAC Tournament. During that time, the active CUA leaders are Holmes in scoring (7.8 ppg), Chris Kearney in rebounding (5.4 rpg) and Holmes in assists (2.3 apg).
CUA has gone 11-1 in non-conference games this season, with the lone loss coming vs. No. 24 Buffalo State. The Cardinals have been most impressive during the first half, outscoring opponents a combined 462-350 before halftime.
Check out the CUA game notes for more information on this year's edition of the Cardinals.
Below is more information on the three teams joining CUA in Huntingdon this weekend.
#2 La Roche
Location: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Conference: Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference
Overall Record: 19-8
Conference Record: 13-5
ECAC 1st Round: Defeated No. 7 DeSales, 78-68
Head Coach: Harry Jenkins
Leading Scorer: Michael Dixon (13.1 ppg)
All-time series vs. CUA: 0-0
Location: Huntingdon, Pa.
Overall Record: 19-9
Conference Record: 9-5
ECAC 1st Round: Defeated No. 8 Penn State-Behrend, 50-42
Head Coach: Greg Curley
Leading Scorer: Alex Raymond (12.1 ppg)
All-time series vs. CUA: Juniata leads 6-5
Location: Reading, Pa.
Conference: MAC Commonwealth
Overall Record: 18-8
Conference Record: 8-6
ECAC 1st Round: Defeated No. 5 Wilkes, 78-64
Head Coach: Mike Miller
Leading Scorer: Stefan Thompson (13.8)
All-time series vs. CUA: Tied 1-1