CUA tripped up by DeSales on the road

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – The CUA men's basketball team suffered its first loss of the season on Wednesday evening as the Cardinals dropped a 72-66 decision at DeSales University inside Billera Hall.  R.J. Dixon scored a team-high 19 points for CUA, but it was not enough as the Cardinals fall to 6-1 following the setback.  Brian Hunter netted a game-high 21 points for the Bulldogs (5-2).

Dixon hit 7 of 13 shots on the evening and was joined in double figures by classmate Jason Banzhaf, who hit for 18 points and also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.  CUA, which came into the night averaging nearly 10 more rebounds per game than its opponents, was out-rebounded 37-23.

The Cardinals did a nice job of holding onto the ball, with only 10 turnovers, and they sank 8 of 9 attempts at the free throw line.

Three DeSales players hit for double digits, including Hunter (21), Brett Moyer (17) and Brian Kerwin (17). Moyer added 12 rebounds for a double-double, while Jamey Bercier pulled down seven caroms.  Hunter dished out a game-high eight assists and also led the home team with a pair of steals.

The Bulldogs shot a sizzling 60 percent in the opening 20 minutes and wound up with a 52.2 percent clip for the game.  DeSales struggled with its free throw shooting though, connecting on only 16 of 27 attempts (59 percent).

The game was tight in the early going, with three ties in the first four minutes.  A Pete Schramm layup at the 15:22 mark gave CUA a 13-11 lead, but Kerwin nailed a three for DeSales down the other end and the Bulldogs went in front 14-13.

After the Cardinals opened up a four-point advantage with 11:41 to play DeSales came back with 11 straight to surge in front 25-18 with 7:31 on the clock.  Shawn Holmes then answered with a three for CUA and the Cardinals were within four, 25-21.

A three-pointer by Kerwin at the 4:46 mark gave DeSales its largest lead up to that point at 32-23, but Banzhaf sank a three of his own to keep the Cardinals within six.

Following an old-fashioned three-point play by Banzhaf with 28 ticks to go CUA had closed to within four, but DeSales waited for the final shot of the half, which came from Hunter as he connected from downtown just as time expired to send the Bulldogs into halftime ahead by seven, 39-32.

Back-to-back threes by Kerwin and Hunter put CUA in a 49-36 hole with 15:33 to play, and following Hunter's layup with 11:54 on the clock, the Cardinals were down by 14.

Andy Roell's three at the 8:50 mark cut the deficit to nine at 57-48, but three straight points by the Bulldogs gave the home team a 60-48 advantage.

CUA got to within eight when Banzhaf got inside for a layup at the 3:11 mark, but two free throws from DeSales made it a ten-point game with just over a minute to play.  The Bulldogs, who were nationally ranked last week, made 10 of 13 foul shots in the final 1:01 to seal the win and send CUA to its first loss of the season.

CUA returns to action on Saturday afternoon when the Cardinals play their first home game since November 23 with a contest vs. Gettysburg inside DuFour Gymnasium.  Tip-off is set for 4:00.

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