By Chris McManes
ASTON, PA. -- Preseason All-American Jay Howard is the unquestioned leader of the Catholic University men's basketball team. But he can't do everything.
Particularly on the offensive end.
Howard scored all but one of the Cardinals' final 14 points in an 83-63 loss to Neumann University at Mirenda Center on Saturday.
Howard's game-high 25 points weren't enough to counter the Knights' five double-digit scorers. Kenny Wilson and DeShawn Lowman tallied 14 points each for Neumann (8-0).
CUA lost for the second time this week to fall to 5-2.
Louis Khouri's 3-pointer from the right wing gave the Cardinals' a 49-43 lead with 12:58 to play. The Knights then turned up the defensive heat and often double-teamed Howard every time he touched the ball.
Catholic committed three of its 15 turnovers and had a foul on an offensive rebound amid a 14-3 Neumann run. Lowman nailed a trey from the right side, and Billy Cassidy hit his second of four 3-pointers in the final six-plus minutes. The barrage put the Knights in firm control, 66-56, with 5:45 to go.
"We just lost our composure offensively, and defensively we lost all the principles that we had the first 30 minutes," Cardinal Coach Steve Howes said. "We let them, and outside forces, dictate our poise."
The only offense the Cards could muster after Khouri's three were Howard layups and free throws. The junior power forward finished 9 of 15 from the field and 7 of 9 from the line. He added a team-high six rebounds, four assists, four turnovers and two steals.
"We need a lot more production from a lot more people," Howes said. "Jay's doing everything he can, but we need for -other guys to produce. Right now they're not."
Neumann made 54 percent of its field goals, including 53 percent from beyond the arc. CUA checked in at 47 and 31 percent.
Cassidy came off the bench to score all 12 of his points in the second half. His last two triples came from NBA range, one at the top of the key and one from the right wing. Tyaire Hudson and Darian Barnes added 11 points apiece. Barnes led all rebounders with eight.
The Cardinals, who held a 36-33 halftime lead, thought they had the ball and a five-point advantage with 13:13 left. Golaszewski was originally ruled to have taken a charge, and the Cards started walking down the court.
Then the referees got together and changed the call to a foul and basket by Tony Parker. He missed the free throw, and Khouri answered with his second 3 to put the Cards up 49-43. Little went right for the Cardinals the rest of the way.
The Knights' pressure, coupled with CUA's inability to swing the ball and get open looks outside, led to the Cardinals being outscored 40-14 down the stretch.
"They're a very good team. We knew that coming in," Howes said. "It just makes Wednesday's loss (69-64 at St. Vincent) hurt that much more. Increased production from guys other than Jay, Louis and Andre is going to be the key."
Catholic hosts Elmira on Saturday, Dec. 17 and then takes on Gettysburg the following day.
NOTES – Pat Maloney, Most Outstanding Player of the 2001 Division III Final Four, attended the game with his wife (Courtney), sister (Megan) and son (Benjamin). He was named second-team All-American in 2001 after the leading CUA to the national championship. Maloney wasn't the Cardinals' only 1,000-point scorer at the game. Shane Sowden, who scored 1,083 points from 2002-06, attended the contest with his daughter, Colleen. … Knights Coach Jim Rullo's father, Jerry, played on the first NBA championship team, the 1946-47 Philadelphia Warriors. … The full name of Neumann's arena is the Mirenda Center for Sport, Spirituality and Character Development. It includes an exhibit exploring the core values of Respect, Balance, Reflection, Beauty and Play.
Chris McManes (mick-maynz) is a consultant to the CUA Athletics Department.
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