Arlington, Va. – The Catholic University of America men's basketball team tipped off its 2016-17 season at Marymount's Pablo Coto Tournament as the Cardinals downed Hamilton, 76-67.
The duo of junior Jay Howard and senior Louis Khouri led the way for head coach Steve Howes' squad as the tandem combined for 43 points and 18 rebounds. Howard dropped a game-high 23 points while Khouri also scored 20, hitting three 3-pointers. Each player just missed the double-double with nine rebounds.
Hamilton scored first and held an early lead, but the Cardinals fought back to take the lead midway through the first and did not relinquish its advantage.
The Cardinals trailed 10-8 seven minutes into the game, but a layup by Easton tied it up and started 7-0 run that put Catholic up for good. Catholic also closed on a 6-2 run capitalized by a steal and running 3-pointer at the buzzer by senior Jeff Holland.
Hamilton was able to cut it to seven with less than three minutes to play but Khouri answered with a big 3-pointer, drawing the foul as well for a four-point play and a 66-55 lead.
Rookie Brandon Easton had a strong collegiate debut with 13 points, four assists and three rebounds and knocked down all six of his foul shots.
Both teams shot under 42 percent, but Catholic's edge at the charity stripe proved vital with Hamilton making just 13-of-22 from the line.
With the win, the Cardinals advance to the championship game against the victor of host Marymount and Kean.