Catholic 62, Edgewood 59

Jan. 6, 2002

WASHINGTON - Catholic won the 15th annual CUA Pepsi Classic in dramatic fashion by overcoming a slow first half to defeat Edgewood College, 62-59, in the final. It was the third year in a row the Cardinals won their winter tournament at the Raymond A. DuFour Center.

Junior Matt Hilleary (Manassas, Va./Seton School) was named the Most Valuable Player for the tournament as the junior came up big in the championship game notching a double double finishing with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Teammate Craig Avallone (Lincroft, N.J./Christian Brothers Acad.) chipped in 14 points en route to being named to the All-Tournament Team. The Eagles' Royce Malkowski tallied a game high 27 points on 10-of-27 shooting for Edgewood (9-6).

In the consolation game, North Carolina Wesleyan held off Swarthmore 67-55 as the Bishops' Ryan Sinclair scored a game-high 21 points. Teammate Robert Smith added a double double with 11 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks.

Catholic (10-1) fell behind in the opening minutes as Malkowski led the Eagles to a 12-3 run to start the game. Malkowski scored 12 points including two 3-pointers to raise the lead to 25-12 with eight minutes in the half. The Cardinals would get within eight points on a Bobby Henning (Bricktown, N.J./East Brunswick) layup to cement the score at 32-24 at the half.

Hilleary would lead the troops in the second half as the junior went on to score 14 of his team-high 22 points. He sparked the Cardinals on a 9-2 run and his two free throws at the 15:51 mark gave CUA its first lead of the game.

Edgewood would not go away as Luke Sadowski hit a short jumper and added two free throws to make it a 47-43 game midway through the half. Junior Kevin Wise (Newtown, Pa./Notre Dame [N.J.]) was fouled on a three-point attempt and sank all three free throws giving Catholic a 48-47 lead.

Malkowski was a thorn all day as his 3-pointer with just 3:35 remaining tied the game for the fifth time at 52-52. With his team down four, he struck again with his fourth 3-pointer with just under a minute to play. Avallone's soaring layup on the next possession gave CUA a three-point cushion. Sophomore Will Morley (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) had a chance to ice the game with two free throws but missed both, setting the stage for a last-second shot, but Malkowski's final attempt clanked off the rim sending CUA to its 10th consecutive victory.

Avallone, Malkowski, Sadowski, North Carolina Wesleyan's Ryan Sinclair and Swarthmore's Matthew Gustafson rounded out the All-Tournament Team. Hilleary won the CUA Pepsi Classic MVP award for the second consecutive year.

The Cardinals return to action Wednesday, Jan. 9, as they play at Salisbury in a CAC game at 7:30 p.m.

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