Cardinal Men Bounce Back Behind Darrell Carroll in 74-66 Victory at Moravian

Cardinal Men Bounce Back Behind Darrell Carroll in 74-66 Victory at Moravian

1/23/10

BETHLEHEM, Pa. --
Catholic University Head Coach Steve Howes told his team early Saturday afternoon that they had to play with passion and heart if they wanted to ascend to the next level. His players got the message.

Particularly Darrell Carroll.

Carroll scored a team-high 17 points and was nearly a one-man wrecking crew at crunch time to lead the Cardinals to a 74-66 victory over Moravian College at Johnston Hall.

CUA, playing with much greater intensity than it did its 18-point loss at Scranton the night before, improved to 13-5 and 4-2 in the Landmark Conference.

“I was proud of our composure in the second half,” Howes said. “I was proud of the effort after a very tough loss last night where we didn’t give our best effort. We gave a much better effort today and rose to the occasion.”

Carroll, who didn’t start, had plenty of help Saturday. R.J. Dixon tallied 15 points, six rebounds and four assists, Jason Banzhaf had a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) and rookie Shawn Holmes produced 13 points and six assists.

“We had big contributions off the bench and really good backcourt play with R.J. and Shawn,” Howes said.

Carroll added seven boards and made 11 of 13 free throws. Defensively, he took three charges. CUA was 21 of 26 (80.8 percent) from the line.

Nnamdi Njoku scored a game-high 23 points on 10 of 14 shooting for the Greyhounds (4-13, 1-6), whose play belied their record. They made half of their shots (27 of 54) and 8 of 19 (42.1 percent) from beyond the arc.

Njoku made three 3-pointers and had three rebounds and three steals. Chris Cullen added 18 points on 7 of 13 shooting and blocked five shots.

Each squad, coming off a double-figure loss the night before, came out eager to erase the memory. Dixon connected on consecutive 3-pointers off of feeds from Holmes to stake the Cardinals to an early 10-4 lead.

CUA missed a lot of shots underneath and did not score another field goal until Dixon made a fastbreak layup with 6:25 to go before intermission. A stingy defense and four free throws allowed it to withstand the cold spell and lead 18-15.

The Greyhounds brought a 33-32 lead into halftime. Consecutive 3-pointers by Dixon and George Fountain put the Cards on top, 49-42, with 12:42 remaining. A Shane Painter layup in transition made it 51-50, CUA.

Carroll took over from there, making 9 of 10 free throws and taking a charge. The sophomore's enthusiastic play fueled a 14-6 run that included a contested trey by Pucci Angell to boost the Cardinals to a 65-56 advantage.

Just as Carroll keyed CUA’s explosion, Njoku almost single-handedly kept Moravian in the contest. He scored 12 straight points, including two 3-pointers. His steal and layup with 1:25 to go drew the Greyhounds to within 69-66.

Dixon then missed two free throws, his second resulting in a foul on Banzhaf. But Eric Weaver missed the front end of a one-and-one and Dixon atoned for his mistake by hitting a driving left-handed layup. Two Banzhaf foul shots and one by Cody Otto accounted for the final margin.

The Cardinals continue Landmark play at Susquehanna on Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

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