By Chris McManes
WASHINGTON – Catholic University freshman Jay Howard painted DuFour Center Cardinal red Saturday Night.
Howard scored all eight of his field goals in the paint and finished with a career-high 22 points and seven rebounds. Bryson Fonville was one better in the points department and tied Howard and Shakir Evans for the team rebounding high (seven) in CUA's 83-63 victory over Moravian College.
Howard and Fonville did most of their damage in the first half as the Cards led for all but 44 seconds. Fonville, a junior point guard, had 17 points at halftime and Howard 13. The Cardinals, who improved to 6-2 and 2-0 in the Landmark Conference, took a 47-30 lead into the break.
CUA held Moravian to 4 of 18 on 3-point shooting and forced the team from Bethlehem, Pa., into 14 turnovers, which the Cards turned into 20 points.
"I thought our defense was pretty good," Cardinal Coach Steve Howes said. "Anytime you hold a team right around 60 [points], that's a good indication [that you're playing well defensively]. I was happy with the way we contested their shots.
"They're a good 3-point shooting team, and they went 0-for-7 [on 3's] in the first half. That's because we were all over the place challenging them. So I'm happy with that, and we shared the ball offensively."
Howard, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound small forward from Pennsauken, N.J., scored all of his points near the basket. He finished 8 of 12 from the field and 6 of 10 from the line. He's second on the club in scoring (15.1 ppg).
"He's incredibly strong and has a way to get to the basket that you can't teach," Howes said. "He's hit shots outside for us, and tonight the way to score was to get it inside. We thought we had a good matchup with him, and it turned out to be that way.
Austin Calling (11 points) also contributed to CUA's inside dominance by shooting 4 of 5 and blocking two shots. The Cardinals, who had more offensive rebounds (22) than defensive (18), scored 27 second-chance points and won the battle of the boards, 40-26. Half of Howard's baskets came on missed shots, including two of his own.
Fonville displayed his usual artistry and went over the 20-point mark for the third time this season. He shot 6 of 12 in the opening half and 8 of 19 overall. He gave the Cards what turned out to be the lead for good when he drained a trey from the left wing at 19:16 of the first half. His triple from the left corner after a handoff from Corey Stanford (three assists) put CUA in front, 23-15.
After Howard put back his own errant shot, Fonville drove the baseline to give the Cards a 27-17 lead with 8:51 before intermission. The 6-footer from Greensboro, N.C., punctuated his first-half scoring bonanza by tallying seven of the Cardinals' final nine points. Fouled on a 3-point attempt with 4.4 seconds left until halftime, Fonville calmly sank three from the charity stripe.
With the game well under control late, Fonville snuck inside and found Calling with a tight-window pass to his right for another two points in the lane. Fonville leads CUA in scoring (18.5 ppg).
"Bryson's one of the best point guards in the country," Howes said. "He doesn't get the recognition he deserves."
With three starters – Chris Kearney, Shawn Holmes, Nate Koenig – looking on from the Cards' 25-4 NCAA Tournament team of two years ago – Evans had arguably his finest game in a Cardinal uniform. The only senior on the team skied for five defensive rebounds of his seven total and added five points and three assists. He dropped in a 3-ball with 4:50 to play as CUA assumed its biggest lead of the game, 79-50.
Power forward Brandon McGuire kept Moravian (1-7, 0-2) close early and finished with a team-high 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Jarrod Dilts had 14 points and eight rebounds.
The Cardinals do not play next week as students take final exams and are off until traveling to St. Vincent on Dec. 15.Howes is pleased with how his squad has started conference play.
"We're 2-0 and will be like that for over a month, so I'm very happy," he said. "Now they can go to exams feeling good about themselves. We've improved a lot since [October] 15th."
NOTES – Ed Larkin '87 took in the game with two of former CUA teammate Tom Mulquin's sons. Larkin will watch Mike Lonergan – another Cardinal from the 1980s – as he leads George Washington (4-2) against Charlotte (4-3) on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the BB&T Classic. … Three recruits attended the game and joined the Cards afterwards in their victorious locker room.