Cardinals Play Well Early Before Hot-Shooting Maryland Cruises to Victory
by Chris McManes
COLLEGE PARK, MD. – One of the last things Catholic University Coach Steve Howes asked his team to do prior to its game at the University Maryland on Sunday was to play with great effort. For the most part, he got that.
What he didn't get was a lot of scoring.
Jake Layman scored 23 points, including 11 straight in the first half, to lead the Terrapins to an 84-39 victory over the Cardinals before 7,019 in exhibition action at Comcast Center. Nick Faust added 14 points, and Charles Mitchell had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Cardinals led three times early, the last at 13:55 of the first half when Kevin Phanord's 3-pointer gave CUA a 10-8 lead.
"I thought we came out hard, and I was really proud of our effort the first 12 minutes," Howes said. "Clearly there were stretches where I don't think we competed as hard as we did early on. I was disappointed with some spurts on the glass and in transition defense.
"But we'll get that corrected."
After the Cards' last lead, Layman took over, nailing three consecutive treys and a floater along the baseline. The 6-foot-8 sophomore finished 7 of 12 shooting and 5 of 7 from 3-point range. The 6-6 Faust made 3 of 8 trifectas, and the Terps were 9 of 19 overall.
"It's tough; we're small in the backcourt and they're long," Howes said. "So we didn't have a whole lot of contested shots. And they really shot the ball well, which will bode well for them this year."
A Dez Wells' steal and slam concluded the 13-2 run that Layman ignited to put Maryland up, 21-12, with 10:16 to go before halftime.
After Kevin Phanord hit another 3 to draw the Cards to within 24-17, Maryland scored 20 straight points. Limberiou ended the nearly seven-minute scoring drought when he made a baseline jumper with about 48 seconds remaining in the first half. The Terrapins led 44-19 at the break.
Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon was pleased with his team's defense, particularly on Limberiou, CUA's outside marksman, who was 3 of 12 and misfired on all four of his 3-pointers. Limberiou succeeded on 48 percent (71 of 148) of his shots beyond the arc last year in the Cards' 25-4, Landmark Conference-championship season.
"Nick Faust, defensively, was tremendous tonight," Turgeon said. "He took on a challenge with that [number] 23, Steve. He was 3-for-12 and the kid can really shoot the ball.
"So, we did a lot of things well, and I was proud of our group. It should help us moving forward."
The Cards found scoring hard to come by against the Division I Terps. Maryland out-rebounded CUA, 51-22, had a 34-10 point advantage in the paint and blocked 10 shots. The statistics are not surprising when a Division III team goes against a very well-coached ACC team. The Terps were successful on 52.8 percent (28 of 53) of their field goals.
"Obviously, we were bigger, faster, stronger at every position," Turgeon said. "And it showed."
While the Cardinals only made 25 percent of their shots (14 of 56), they committed just 16 turnovers and forced 15 against their more athletic opponent. They also recorded 10 steals, led by the Phanord brothers with two each.
Both teams were playing without their starting point guards, Seth Allen for the Terrapins and Bryson Fonville for the Cards. Fonville, a sophomore from Greensboro, N.C., missed the game with the lingering effects of a sprained right ankle.
With the game well in hand, Turgeon made a classy move by clearing his bench for the final five minutes. He and Howes have come to know each other well in the past couple of years, and Howes has been a guest of Turgeon's at many Maryland practices.
"I've got a lot of respect for the guy I was coaching against, so I was really trying hard to keep the score down," Turgeon said.
CUA will open the regular season at Westminster College in the Buzz Ridl Classic in New Wilmington, Pa., on Nov. 15. The Cardinals will play at Division I Loyola University Maryland on Dec. 4, and Howes said today's experience will help his team compete in that game.
"Without question, it will help us understand the speed and the force that you have to play with," he said.
For Howes, a lifelong Terrapins fan, it was a special thrill for him to coach at Comcast Center in front of so many CUA fans and his family. His son, Michael, and eldest daughter, Sarah, both gave him big hugs just before the opening tip.
"It was special to walk out on the floor," Howes said. "It's a great venue, terrific tradition and it's an amazing experience for someone who grew up with Maryland pride. To step out on the floor against them is a memory I'll have for the rest of my life."