Cardinals open conference play with 88-53 win over Goucher

WASHINGTON – CUA opened Landmark Conference play in style on Saturday evening, racing past Goucher 88-53 in front of an energetic DuFour Center crowd.  The Cardinals were led in scoring by junior Nate Koenig, who hit for a career-high 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting, while freshman Steve Limberiou added 14 points.

CUA’s defense was once again very stingy, limiting the Gophers to 29% shooting overall and 20% from 3-point range.  The Cardinals also forced Goucher into 17 turnovers, which CUA converted into 16 points.

The Cardinals shot 50% from the floor and 77% at the charity stripe.  Chris Kearney pulled down a team-high seven rebounds, while Derek Puhalski dished out five assists.  CUA featured a balanced scoring attack, with ten players scoring at least five points.

Despite the lopsided final score, Goucher was able to keep it close in the early going, tying things at 16 on an Alex Noble 3-pointer at the 12:32 mark of the first half.

Back-to-back-to-back trifectas from Puhalski, Shawn Holmes and Billy Donovan quickly turned the tie into a nine-point advantage for CUA with 10:03 to play before halftime.

Holmes’ jumper at the 5:14 mark gave the Cardinals their first double-digit lead, while Dan Eliot’s fast break layup two minutes later made it a 13-point advantage.

Jared Prince’s 3-pointer with only 20 seconds on the clock pushed the lead up to 43-26, but Goucher’s Brian Morton got to the hoop for a layup down the other end to make it 43-28 at intermission.

Prince’s free throw at the 15:44 mark of the second gave CUA its largest lead up to that point, 52-34, while Limberiou’s basket five minutes later made it a 20-point spread, 58-38.

From there, the lead only continued to grow, reaching 27 on Pete Schramm’s foul shot at the 7:56 mark.

Freshman Nelson Mendez’s hoop at the 4:13 mark gave CUA its biggest lead of the night, 81-42, and Prince’s trifecta in the final minute closed out the scoring for the Cardinals.

Goucher received a team-high 13 points from Morton, while Noble added 10.  Marcus Cotton led the visitors with seven boards and three assists.

CUA is now 6-0 for the second consecutive season.  The last time the Cardinals began a season 7-0 was the 2002-03 season.

CUA returns to action on Wednesday evening when the Cardinals play host to DeSales inside the DuFour Center.  Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

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