Seniors help No. 10 CUA grind out road win, Kearney nets 1,000th

KINGS POINT, N.Y. – Seniors Shawn Holmes and Chris Kearney combined for 38 points and No. 10 CUA (17-2, 7-1) grinded its way to a 54-42 win at Merchant Marine Academy (10-9, 3-6) on Saturday evening.  Kearney became the 40th men's player in school history to eclipse 1,000 career points and the Cardinals defense held the Mariners to 25.8 percent shooting from the floor and 17.4 percent from 3-point range.

CUA's defense left USMMA searching for answers all game, holding the Mariners to 24.2 percent in the 1st half and 27.6 percent after halftime.  USMMA also committed 16 turnovers, which CUA converted into 16 points.

The Cardinals struggled themselves, hitting only 33.3 percent from the field, but they also turned the ball over only eight times and made 10 more free throws than their opponent.

Holmes scored the first five points of the night to give CUA an early advantage, but USMMA scored 12 of the next 16 points to grab a 12-9 lead with 13:42 left to play in the 1st.

The Cardinals battled back and went in front by five on Kearney's layup at the 7:46 mark, and after Dan Elliot sank a pair at the free throw line, the lead was up to seven.

The Mariners came right back though, pulling to within two on a jumper and free throw from Nick Sergio, but a basket by Kearney and 3-pointer by Holmes in the final two minutes sent CUA into halftime with a seven-point lead.

Kearney's historic basket came with 1:45 remaining in the half and gave the Virginia native exactly 1,000 points for his career.

The lead reached nine on Nate Koenig's jumper with 17:44 left to play, and it hit double figures on Kevin Phanord's free throw just minutes later.

CUA led by 11 with 9:29 on the clock, only to see USMMA scored six straight to cut it to a five-point game 2:11 later.

It was then time for the Cardinals to make a run, which they did, scoring seven in a row, capped by Kearney's layup at the 2:37 mark to open up a 12-point spread.

In the final 1:08, CUA went 4 for 6 at the foul line to seal its fifth consecutive win.

Kearney added a season-high 15 rebounds, one off his career high, and he also totaled four blocks.  Koenig pulled down eight rebounds and shared top honors with Holmes with four steals.

Andrew Williams led the Mariners in scoring with 11 points, while Reed Buck netted 10, but shot just 3 of 17 from the floor.  USMMA pulled down 45 rebounds as a team, led by Sergio with nine.    

On Wednesday, No. 10 CUA will welcome Juniata College to town for a 7 p.m. tip.  The Eagles handed the Cardinals their only conference loss of the season on January 9 in Pennsylvania.

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