By Chris McManes
SELINSGROVE, PA. – Resilience.
The Catholic University men's basketball team displayed plenty of it Wednesday night at Susquehanna University's Houts Gymnasium en route to a 78-71 victory.
With the win, the Cardinals (11-5) remain unblemished in the Landmark Conference with a 5-0 record. The Crusaders dropped to 10-6 (2-3).
Freshman Corey Stanford had another monster game for the Cards, who have won six straight. Stanford produced a career-high 27 points and game-best 10 rebounds. He made 10 of 13 shots and scored in bunches in both halves.
Bryson Fonville added 14 points on 6 of 12 shooting, and Louis Khouri came off the bench to score 12. Kyle Phanord tied his career rebounding high with six, recorded two steals and distributed five assists. Steve Limberiou had 10 points and six boards.
"We certainly didn't play our best tonight and that's a credit to them," Cardinal Coach Steve Howes said. "They took us out of our rhythm, but we've got to remain more poised. I'm very pleased we escaped with a victory."
CUA held the Crusaders' leading scorer Brandon Headley (16.9 ppg) to a 4 of 17 shooting performance, including 2 of 12 from 3-point range. He finished with 15 points and six assists. Jake Eskin totaled 14 points and eight assists, Harley Sellinger had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Matt McGugan tallied 11 points.
After Susquehanna drew to within 60-55, Stanford scored seven straight points in a 10-1 run to give CUA some breathing room. Limberiou's 3-pointer off a set-play assist from Fonville made it 70-57, with 5:16 to play.
"Down the stretch, Corey played well beyond his years," Howes said. "He's certainly proving to be worth the many trips Coach [Damien] Williams and I took to Pittsburgh to see him play last year."
The Crusaders answered with one more run, and when Headley dropped in two free throws, they only trailed 74-68 with 1:45 left. Fonville hit a foul shot and Stanford 3 of 4 to seal the win. A McGugan 3 accounted for the final points.
The Cards held Susquehanna to 25 of 68 (36.8) shooting from the floor and 5 of 25 from 3-ball land. The Cardinals made half of their field goals, their third-straight game shooting 50 percent or better.
Stanford scored CUA's first nine points, the last on a trey to ignite a 14-0 run and put the Cards on top, 20-6. The Cardinals held the Crusaders scoreless for eight minutes and three seconds. The CUA lead reached as high as 16, 28-12, when Ry'n Bland scored inside.
Tre Dean scored eight of the next 11 straight points for Susquehanna as it trimmed the Cardinal advantage to 28-23 with 2:03 remaining before recess. Phanord made two free throws, Louis Khouri hit a jumper and Riley Kirsch scored inside on a feed from Phanord to send CUA into halftime with a 34-23 lead. The Crusaders missed all 11 of their first-half 3-point attempts.
Fonville was replaced by Khouri when he picked up his second foul with 11:03 left in the first half and remained on the bench until the start of the final period. Fonville scored six of the Cards' first eight points after the break.
The Cardinals continue their three-game road show with a Saturday date at the University of Scranton. Game time is 1 p.m.