|William Paterson 71, Catholic 67||Nov. 16, 2001|
WAYNE, N.J. - Catholic fell to William Paterson 71-67 in a rematch of last season's NCAA Division III national championship game as the two teams opened the 2001-02 season. The Cardinals were down 49-26 at the half, rallied to tie the game late, but the Pioneers took advantage of Catholic's missed shots to seal the win. WPU's Brandon Constantine led all scorers with his 21 points.
Catholic (0-1) never led in the game as the Pioneers jumped out to a 19-7 lead thanks to the free throws of Rashaan Barner who was 10-for-12 from the line finishing with 14 points and bad shooting from the Cardinals. Catholic missed its first six shots of the game and would end the first half just as they started it by going scoreless for the last 3:04 of the first half. William Paterson (1-0) went on a 7-0 run including a big three-pointer by Ryan Jurgensen to give them a 23-point cushion at the break.
It seemed a different Cardinal team came out of the locker room to play the second half as Catholic used an 18-4 run to start the second 20 minutes to pull within 11 points. The Cardinals chipped away at the Pioneer lead throughout the half.
Sophomore Will Morley's (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) three-point play pulled CUA within three at 60-57 with just four and a half minutes to play. Freshman Bobby Henning (Bricktown, N.J./N. Brunswick) then hit a running jumper to put Catholic at 60-59.
With just under two minutes to play, junior Matt Hilleary's (Manassas, Va./Seton School) putback again put CUA within two at 67-65. Catholic was able to tie it once again on a jumper from junior Craig Avallone (Lincroft, N.J./Christian Bros. Academy) with 57 seconds remaining. The Pioneers would answer the CUA pressure as Constantine hit a huge three-point play with just 36 seconds to suck the wind out of the Catholic sails for good and give WPU the win.
Avallone was the leading scorer for Catholic with 17 points. Hilleary (15 points) and junior Kevin Wise (Newtown, Pa./Notre Dame) also finished in double figures. Wise hit three three-pointers and a jumper to finish with 11 points.
The Cardinals return to action in an exhibition game with the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters Monday night, Nov. 19, at the DuFour Center starting at 7 p.m.