WASHINGTON – Catholic University seniors Nate Koenig, Chris Kearney and Shawn Holmes are feeling the urgency of concluding their careers on a high note. A sophomore is helping to ensure they get there.
Steve Limberiou scored a game-high 22 points to lead the No. 15 Cardinals to an 82-49 rout of Husson University in the championship game of the CUA-Holiday Inn College Park Classic on Sunday at DuFour Center.
Limberiou, who tallied 27 points and 13 rebounds – both career highs – in CUA's win Saturday, was 11 of 17 (64.7 percent) from 3-point range over the two games and was named tournament MVP.
Holmes, with 17 points, three steals and three assists Sunday, joined Limberiou on the All-Tournament team. He scored the 1,000th point of his career late in the first half on a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
Kearney finished with 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds, and Koenig had 11 points, seven rebounds and a career-best six assists. Neither Limberiou nor Koenig committed a turnover in 30 and 29 minutes of play, respectively.
The Cardinals (10-1) had assists on 20 of their 27 baskets and made just eight turnovers. They hit 48 percent of their field goals, while holding the Eagles (4-4) to 32 percent. Husson was just 3 of 23 from 3-point range.
"It's still kind of early in the year, but it's always nice to win a tournament, to get a trophy," Koenig said. "We played really well. It's probably our best two-game stretch of the year."
CUA split the game wide open with a devastating 19-2 first-half run. Ahead 10-7, Holmes concluded the outburst with a layup to make it 29-9 halfway to the break. Kearney had seven points and six rebounds during the stretch and the Cards took a 46-20 lead into halftime.
Limberiou nailed consecutive triples to put CUA on top by 40, 67-27, with 12:40 to play.
The Cardinals, who began the year with wins over two Top-25 teams to vault into the national rankings, opened the tournament with a 77-35 thrashing of Denison University. Limberiou, a 6-foot-5 small forward, sank 7 of 10 treys and 10 of 15 shots overall.
CUA hosts Washington College on Wednesday at 7 p.m. before beginning the bulk of its Landmark Conference schedule by hosting the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Cards missed the four-team Landmark Conference Tournament last season.
"This is a very urgent year for us," Kearney said. "Our goal is a conference championship and NCAA Tournament appearance."
The Cardinals, who captured the tournament for the 16th time and fourth time in the past five years, have won five straight.
"We're not getting too high right now," said Holmes, an All-Tournament selection a year ago. "Just nice and steady."
Delaware Valley 69, Denison 66 – Jay Donovan scored 19 points to lead to lead the Aggies (6-5) past the Big Red (4-7) in the third-place game.
Daulton Derr added 12 points and seven rebounds, and Zach Sly had 11 points and four steals. Jeremy Beckett collected six points, eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks. Donovan, who was named to the All-Tournament team, was good on 5 of 9 3-pointers.
Denison's Alex Longi led all scorers with 26 points on 10 of 16 shooting. His 3-pointer with 14 seconds left drew the Big Red to within 68-66. After Derr hit a free throw, Sly ended Denison's attempt to tie by stealing the ball from Longi.
CUA-Holiday Inn College Park Classic All-Tournament Team:
Steve Limberiou, CUA (MVP)
Shawn Holmes, CUA
Eric Modica, Husson
Jay Donovan, Delaware Valley
Alex Longi, Denison
Written by Chris McManes, former CUA sports information director.