by Chris McManes
WASHINGTON – The Landmark Conference will honor its men's basketball Player of the Week on Monday for this week's performances.
Bryson Fonville has a strong case.
The Catholic University playmaker punctuated a 3-0 week by hitting the game-winning shot in the Cardinals' 65-64 victory over Landmark rival U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at DuFour Center on Saturday night.
With the win, CUA improves to 9-3 and 3-0 in league play. The Mariners, from Kings Point, N.Y., fall to 2-9 and 0-5.
It looked like Merchant Marine might pick up its first conference victory when Matthew Miller scored his team's final four points, the last on a layup with 11 seconds to go to give his team a one-point lead. That's when Fonville took the ball – and the game – into his own hands.
The junior from Greensboro, N.C., who was named MVP of the CUA-Holiday Inn College Park Classic on Tuesday, drove up court to the left elbow before losing control, regaining it and dropping in the game-winning jumper with 3.6 seconds on the clock.
Had Fonville not risen to the occasion, the Cards would have been left to lament a poor shooting performance on their home court. CUA made just 19 of 55 from the floor (34.5 percent) and was a mere 6 of 21 beyond the 3-point line.
"Bryson bailed our whole team out," said Cardinal Coach Steve Howes, who picked up his 198th career victory. "We struggled shooting the ball but showed resolve and found a way. Thankfully we valued the ball and only turned it over four times."
Fonville picked up his third foul early in the second half and his fourth with 2:55 remaining, limiting his playing time to a season-low 30 minutes. He finished with 15 points, six rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals.
Freshman Jay Howard played the entire game for the second time this season and came up with a game-high 19 points and five boards. He made a career-high 11 of 14 free throws, including all five in the decisive second half. The game was tied at 31 at the break.
Corey Stanford, the other member of CUA's terrific triumvirate, produced his second double-double of the year with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The reigning Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year added a season-best five assists.
David Smith paced the Mariners with 16 points and 12 boards. Miller ended with 13 points, and Scott Dennin had 12 points and seven rebounds. Merchant Marine hit 22 of 49 shots (44.9 percent), but struggled from 3-point range by sinking just 4 of 17 (23.5 percent).
Scott scored to give Kings Point a 50-47 lead midway through the second half, but Kyle Phanord and Stanford answered with back-to-back 3s. The Mariners were up one before Khouri nailed a trey to put the Cards back on top 61-59 with under two minutes to play. Two Fonville charity stripers with 1:10 left made it 63-60 and were the Cardinals' last points until his 15-foot shot kept CUA undefeated in the conference.
The Cards travel to play new league member Elizabethtown on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. They face longtime rival Goucher at DuFour Center on Thursday at 7.