Strong second half, Limberiou's hot hand help carry No. 8 CUA to win
SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Leading by only four at halftime, No. 8 CUA (20-2, 10-1) broke open a tight game by outscoring Susquehanna (9-13, 5-6) 40-23 in the second half en route to a 74-53 victory on Wednesday evening. Sophomore Steve Limberiou drilled seven 3-pointers and scored a career-high 29 points, while Shawn Holmes added 21 points. The Cards sank 10 of 21 3-pointers as a team and have now won at least 20 games five times under Head Coach Steve Howes.
After taking a 34-30 lead into the locker room, CUA came out and scored the first six points of the second half to open up a 10-point advantage with 16:47 remaining.
Holmes' jumper two minutes later made it a 14-point spread, and after the senior captain got to the hoop for a layup, the Cards were on top by 16.
Susquehanna was able to hang around and pulled to within 11 with 10:25 on the clock, but a Chris Kearney dunk down the other end upped the lead to 13.
Back-to-back baskets by Nate Koenig and Kearney with under eight minutes remaining gave CUA a 20-point cushion, and Limberiou's jumper with 5:49 to play made it a 22-point lead.
Limberiou then sealed things with his seventh and final trey of the night with 3:05 remaining to make it a 26-point spread.
CUA shot 54.5 percent in the second half and won the overall rebound battle, 33-29. The Cardinals handed out 20 assists on 30 made field goals and committed only nine turnovers.
Tre Dean, with 12 points, was the lone Crusader in double figures, while J.T. Wilson and Harley Selinger shared top rebounding honors with five apiece.
A steal and layup by Holmes at the 14:02 mark of the first half gave CUA a 16-9 advantage, but Luke Cable drilled a 3-pointer down the other end to pull the Crusaders within four.
Limberiou answered with back-to-back trifectas to open up a 10-point lead, and Kyle Phanord then added another three to make the spread 13.
A layup by Selinger with 6:55 remaining pulled the home team to within seven, and after Wilson hit a 3-pointer, the lead was down to just four.
Wilson then scored two more baskets in a row to tie things at 29, but CUA closed the half on a 5-1 run to go into the break leading by four.
In addition to their win on Wednesday, the Cardinals also learned that they are atop the initial NCAA regional rankings.
On Saturday No. 8 CUA heads to Scranton, Pa., to face the Royals at 7 p.m. The Cardinals are seeking their first win in Scranton since 2006.