Merchant Marine Academy Takes Control of Landmark Conference Race with 57-49 Victory over Cardinals

Merchant Marine Academy Takes Control of Landmark Conference Race with 57-49 Victory over Cardinals

KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Feb. 13, 2009) –
Catholic University has made great strides this year but on Saturday showed it still has a ways to go.

The Cardinals surrendered a 17-0 barrage early in the second half and never fully recovered in a 57-49 loss to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at O’Hara Hall.

The win was the Mariners’ fifth in a row and avenges a 72-70 loss to CUA on Jan. 16. They improve to 20-4 and are in the catbird seat for the top seed in the Landmark Conference Tournament with an 11-2 record.

Shawn Holmes and R.J. Dixon led the Cardinals (16-6, 8-3) with 13 points each. The Cards had clinched a spot in the league tournament the day before and entered Saturday’s game in second place.

Tom Izzo paced Kings Point with 17 points, five rebounds and five steals. Jon Snead had 15 points and Ryan Samuel 14. Samuel was one of four seniors playing his final regular-season home game.

In an evenly played first half, no team led by more than four points. The Cards rallied from a 12-8 hole with an 8-0 run to go ahead 16-12 with 5:55 left before halftime. Holmes had a 3-ball from the right corner during the flurry. CUA scored the final four points to take a 24-21 lead into intermission.

The Cardinals went up 29-21 but Kings Point responded with a furious 17-0 blitz to lead 38-29 at the 10:11 mark. Izzo scored eight and Snead six in a run that featured three 3-pointers and a three-point play.

A Holmes’ steal and floater cut the Mariner’s advantage to 46-44 with 3:32 to go but that was as close as the Cards would come to pulling off the upset. Snead’s 3-pointer made it 53-45 before Dixon hit a pull-up jumper. Izzo sealed the deal with two free throws and a steal.

Freshman post player Chris Kearney produced 10 points for CUA and Jason Banzhaf had eight points and 11 rebounds. Both teams had 26 boards and USMMA forced three more turnovers (11-8).

Because Izzo and Snead gave up their starting spots to seniors, the Mariners’ bench outscored the Cards 38-4.

The Cardinals host the University of Scranton on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

NOTE – CUA Assistant Coach Joe Reed’s parents, Bill and Donna, hosted the Cards for a pre-game lunch in nearby Westbury, N.Y. CUA coaches then went over the scouting report and the team watched film of their earlier win over USMMA.

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