By Chris McManes
WASHINGTON – Catholic University could do little to stop Susquehanna University center Harley Sellinger in a 73-67 loss to the Crusaders on Wednesday night at DuFour Center.
The defeat drops the Cardinals (14-8, 8-3) out of first place in the Landmark Conference ahead of their game with league-leading Scranton on Saturday afternoon.
Sellinger, a 6-foot-6, 255-pounder, scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds – both game highs – and scored six points in a decisive 9-1 run late in the second half. Jake Eskin added 17 points, five rebounds and seven assists for Susquehanna (13-9, 5-6), which pulled into a four-way tie for third place.
CUA freshman power forward Corey Stanford posted his second double-double of the season against the Crusaders and third overall with 22 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Jared Prince also notched a double-double with 14 points and a personal-high 10 boards.
Susquehanna shot 10 percentage points higher (46.8 percent) than it did in CUA's 78-71 triumph on the Crusaders' home floor Jan. 22. The Cardinals, meanwhile, went from 50 percent shooting that night to 33.3 percent Wednesday.
CUA assumed a 47-40 lead on a free throw by Louis Khouri with 13:01 left in the game, but it evaporated in the face of a 12-3 Susquehanna run to put it up, 52-50 on a Sellinger lay-in. Matt McGugan (13 points, five rebounds) scored the first seven points of the flurry on three layups, one of which he converted into a three-point play.
After a straightaway 17-foot jumper by Prince – his final points – gave the Cards a 55-52 cushion, the Crusaders parlayed a 9-1 run into a 61-56 lead. Sellinger, who also had three steals, scored inside on a pass from Brandon Hedley (13 points), Eskin had a three-point play and Sellinger scored twice more in the paint, the last by following his own miss.
Stanford took a pass from Prince to score down low to make it a three-point game at the 3:38 mark, but Susquehanna scored the next four points to go up by seven. CUA hit three subsequent 3-pointers – two by Fonville and the final one by Stanford from NBA range – to pull within a possession, 70-67, with 24.8 seconds to play. The Crusaders sealed the victory by making five of their final six free throws.
Sellinger was 12 of 16 from the floor for Susquehanna, which scored 50 of its 73 points in the lane.
Fonville made just 4 of 21 shots, had five assists and committed four of the Cards' eight turnovers. Susquehanna only turned the ball over seven times. That helped them overcome 1 of 14 shooting from the 3-point range, while the Cardinals went 7-for-19.
Both teams performed well from the line: the Crusaders 14 of 17 and CUA 18 of 22.
Stanford shot 7 of 15 from the field, 2 of 3 from treyville and 6 of 8 at the line. His 14 rebounds were equally distributed offensively and defensively. Prince made 5 of 8 shots and all four of his charity stripers.
The Cardinals and Scranton (19-3, 9-2) tangle on Saturday at 4 p.m. It is Alumni Day for the both CUA basketball teams, and members of the men's 1963-64 Mason-Dixon Conference championship team will be honored on the 50th anniversary of their accomplishment at halftime of the men's game.