Holmes' career night carries CUA past Gwynedd-Mercy

WASHINGTON – Behind a career-high 29 points from Shawn Holmes, CUA outlasted Gwynedd-Mercy 77-72 on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the ECAC Tournament.  Holmes sank 8 of 14 shots and added 7 assists and 3 rebounds in leading the Cardinals to their 18th win of the season.

CUA had a rough start to this one, falling behind 12-0 in the first 4:45 and trailing 36-31 at halftime.  The Cardinals got it together in the second half though, outscoring the Griffins 46-36 in the final 20 minutes.

CUA was actually down 10 with 16:24 to play in the game following a Dan DelConte jumper, but the Cardinals battled back and pulled to within three on a Nelson Mendez 3-pointer with 14:35 on the clock.

Holmes' trifecta at the 12:46 mark pulled CUA even at 50, but Gwynedd-Mercy ran off five straight to take a 55-50 lead with 12:10 remaining.

Brandon Sharp's bucket with 7:56 to play put the visitors in front by eight, but CUA responded with a 6-0 run to get to within two with 6:11 on the clock.

A DelConte 3-pointer at the 4:36 mark gave the Griffins a seven-point advantage, but Steve Limberiou connected from downtown on CUA's next possession, and the freshman added two more free throws on the possession after that to make it a two-point game with 3:26 remaining.

Another three by Limberiou, this one coming with 2:49 on the clock, gave CUA its first lead since 8:19 remained in the first half. 

The Cardinals then forced a miss by Gwynedd-Mercy and Limberiou sank a jumper down the other end to make it a three-point Cardinals lead.

CUA's defense continued to make life rough for the Griffins, forcing two more missed shots, and a pair of Holmes free throws with a second to play sealed the win.

Limberiou finished with 10 points, while Mendez added a career-high 10.  Chris Kearney pulled down 12 rebounds and added two steals and a block.  The Cardinals sank 19 of 24 free throws (79.2%) and shot 50% from downtown (10-20).

DelConte netted a team-high 20 points for the Griffins, while Brandyn Wims added 16 and seven assists.  After sinking 50% of its 3-pointers in the first half, Gwynedd-Mercy connected on only 2-11 in the second half (18%).

After falling behind early, CUA was able to pull within seven on Holmes' jumper at the 13:02 mark of the first half, but the Griffins responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to open up a 13-point lead with 12:30 to play before halftime.

Two Holmes free throws, followed by a 3-pointer by the junior, pulled CUA to within four, and after Derek Puhalski sank two free throws, the Cardinals were down just two.

Jared Prince's 3-pointer at the 8:19 mark gave CUA its first lead of the night, but Gwynedd-Mercy scored seven of the next nine points to pull in front by four.

Sharp's jumper with 1:29 on the clock then put Gwynedd-Mercy ahead by five, which is how the score remained at intermission.

CUA now moves onto the semifinal round of the ECAC Tournament, which will take place on Saturday, March 3 in Huntingdon, Pa. on the campus of Juniata College.  The No. 3 seed Cardinals will face No. 2 seed La Roche at 3:30, with host and top-seed Juniata hosting No. 4 Alvernia at 1:30. The two winners will then meet on Sunday in Huntingdon in the ECAC championship.

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