By Chris McManes
WASHINGTON – Corey Stanford enjoys playing in his home state. He likes winning even more, no matter where it is.
On Tuesday night, it was another big Keystone State performance for the Pennsylvania native.
Stanford delivered a season-high 26 points in Catholic University's 62-56 victory over Landmark Conference newcomer Elizabethtown (Pa.). His career high of 27 points came at Susquehanna last January.
The Cardinals, who improved to 10-3 and 4-0 in league play, needed every one of Stanford's points and his game- and season-high-tying 12 rebounds. The 2013-14 Landmark Rookie of the Year added three 3-pointers and made all seven of his free throws in the final 2:37 when the outcome was very much in doubt.
"Corey was tremendous on the glass and on the free throw line when we needed them most," CUA Coach Steve Howes said. "It was a great bounce back for him after struggling offensively our last game. He's a big-time threat."
After scoring the first five points of the contest, CUA's offense went dormant in a 17-2 Elizabethtown run that put the Blue Jays up 17-7 with 9:41 left before the break. A Matt Lane trey gave E-Town a 22-11 advantage, but Stanford scored 10 straight points – six on 3-pointers – and Jeff Holland hit two at the foul line to pull the Cards to within 28-26 at halftime.
The game remained within four points the rest of the way until the very end. Tyler Simpkiss' jumper put the Blue Jays in front 53-51 with 4:04 to go. Howard answered with a three-point play, and Stanford went 7 of 8 from the foul line in a 10-0 blitz that gave CUA a 61-53 advantage.
Matt Lapkowicz (12 points) nailed a 3 with 16 seconds remaining and then fouled Fonville, who sank the second of two freebies for the game's final points and Howes' 199th career victory.
"I'm extremely proud of our grit and perseverance tonight," the 11th-year coach said. "It doesn't have to be pretty; you just have to be one point better."
Stanford's previous season high was 22 points in a Nov. 30 loss at DeSales in Center Valley, Pa. He shot 8 of 15 tonight and said it's a little bit of a coincidence that he plays so well in William Penn's commonwealth.
"I like to play on the road no matter what state we're in," the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Stanford said. "Protecting our home court is always a priority for our team, but winning on the road is vital, especially in conference."
Phil Wenger finished with 12 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals for E-Town, which saw its three-game winning streak at Thompson Gymnasium pass into the history books. Joe Bodnar scored 10 points, and Simpkiss produced nine points and a team-high six rebounds.
Howard, the Cards' super frosh, added six boards and blocked two shots. Kyle Phanord hit two 3-pointers in nine attempts. Stanford's only negative was that he committed half of CUA's 10 turnovers. The Blue Jays (4-8, 2-2) turned the ball over 11 times
The Cardinals host Goucher on Franny Murray Court on Thursday at 7 p.m. Howes will attempt to join George Washington Coach Mike Lonergan as the only two Cardinal men's basketball coaches with 200 career victories. Lonergan, whose Colonials improved to 12-3 and 2-0 in the Atlantic 10 on Tuesday, won 251 games from 1992 until Howes succeeded him in 2004.