By Chris McManes
WASHINGTON – The University of Scranton made half of its 3-pointers in the first half. After the break, they did even better.
Justin Klingman went 7-of-8 from beyond the arc and accounted for half of the Royals' treys in an 80-71 victory over Catholic University at DuFour Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Cardinals (14-9, 8-4) fall two games back of league-leading Scranton (20-3, 10-2) in the Landmark Conference. CUA has a two-game lead with two to play in the race for the four-team conference tournament. The top two teams will host first-round games Feb. 26.
Bryson Fonville paced the Cards with 23 points and seven assists. Kyle Phanord made 4 of 5 3-pointers en route to 16 points, and Jared Prince had 12 points and six rebounds. Corey Stanford produced the fourth double-double (11 points, 10 boards) of his rookie campaign.
Landmark Player of the Year candidate Ross Danzig added 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the efficient Royals, who made 24 of 46 (52.2 percent) field goals. They were deadly from 3-point range: 14 of 24 (58.3 percent) overall and 7 of 10 in the second half.
Klingman hit a 3 from the left wing late in the opening period and added another from the same spot early in the second half to stake Scranton to a 40-33 lead. Phanord nailed one of his own from the right corner to pull the Cardinals to within 47-43 with just under 12 minutes to go.
The Royals built upon their cushion with a 13-4 run to lead 60-47 with 9:11 to play. Danzig started it with a short driving layup and a straightaway 3-pointer. After a Fonville floater, Michael Barr (12 points) sank one of his four triples. Prince scored inside before Klingman notched two free throws and Barr hit another from long distance.
Leading 66-54 after Stanford converted two foul shots with 6:06 to go, Scranton spread its offense and passed the ball around the perimeter to run time off the clock. They shaved off valuable seconds but didn't score. When Prince scored inside and Stanford made two more from the line, CUA trailed by just eight.
The dagger came when, with just four seconds on the shot clock, Klingman dropped in a trey from the right wing to boost the Royal lead back to 11, 69-58 at the 3:20 mark. The Cardinals battled gamely, and taking advantage of poor Scranton free-throw shooting (6 of 13), drew to within 76-69 on a Prince lay-in with under a minute to play.
After Brendan Boken (15 points) made 1 of 2 from the line, Phanord missed his only 3 and the ball went out of bounds to the visitors. Fonville converted 7 of 11 field goals, and Phanord was 6 of 9.
CUA will host Goucher College (9-14, 4-8) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Cardinals' final regular-season home game comes on Feb. 22 with a 2 p.m. start at Moravian College.
MASON-DIXON CHAMPIONS HONORED – The 1963-64 men's basketball team was honored at halftime on the 50th anniversary of their Mason-Dixon Conference championship. Returning players included four-year starting center Jack Spencer, reserve forward Joe DeLatour and Bill Leahy, the program's all-time leading rebounder (1,130) and 12th-leading scorer (1,337 points). Leahy, a Cardinal Hall of Famer, was a second-team All-American that season. … Coach Tom Young was unable to attend because of illness. He and John Sevick, a senior guard in '63-64, were also recognized at the break. Sevick was killed in Vietnam on Feb. 1, 1968 while serving in the Army. … Former CUA Athletic Director Bob Talbot, who coached the freshman team that year, and longtime department employee Franny Murray rounded out the honorees. Murray, in his 67th year at the university, drew the loudest applause.
ALUMNI DAY – CUA welcomed back its men's and women basketball alumni Saturday. Each group played a game and then enjoyed a reception in the Cardinal Room. … Nate Koenig and Shawn Holmes, seniors on last year's NCAA Tournament team, attended, as did Matt Hilleary, who was named All-Tournament of the NCAA Division III Final Four when the Cardinals won the 2001 National Championship. … Chris Kearney, also a senior last season, couldn't attend because he plays for a Spanish pro team. His parents (Chris and Peggy), however, were in attendance. … Ed Larkin and Mike O'Leary represented players from the Jack Bruen era (1982-89). … Martin Klimes was a guest of Patrick Dwyer, who played for the Cards from 2003-07. Klimes played two seasons (2005-07) at Vermont under former CUA Coach Mike Lonergan, now the coach at George Washington. Dwyer and Klimes played together in high school and both competed professionally. … Senior student manager TJ Hyland was honored before the game for his four-year service to the program.