CUA falls to Lebanon Valley in ECAC championship game
ANNVILLE, Pa. – CUA's season came to a close in the ECAC championship game on Sunday with the Cardinals falling to Lebanon Valley 74-61. CUA (21-8) trailed by five at halftime but was never able to get any closer and the Dutchmen (23-7) held on for the win. Jason Banzhaf finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in his final game in a CUA uniform.
Lebanon Valley took a 36-31 lead into intermission and the Dutchmen then scored the first four points of the second half to go in front 40-31.
A Chris Kearney free throw and layup followed by a Banzhaf free throw brought the Cardinals to within five, but Anthony Trautman got free for a 3-pointer down the other end and Lebanon Valley was back up by eight. Tournament MVP Joe Meehan then got to the hoop for a layup to extend the Dutchmen's lead to 10, 45-35.
Brian Baker's three at the 13:07 mark cut CUA's deficit to single digits, but Lebanon Valley scored the next seven points and was in front 55-39.
With six minutes remaining Danny Brooks' layup made it a 20-point lead for the Dutchmen, which was their largest of the afternoon.
The Cardinals closed the game on a 5-0 run to set the final margin at 13.
R.J. Dixon scored 14 points for CUA and Kearney added nine on 3 of 5 shooting, in addition to two blocks and three steals.
Meehan earned the MVP trophy after scoring 22 points, while Trautman finished with a game-high 26 points on 10 of 20 shooting, including a 6 of 6 showing from downtown. The Dutchmen handed out 21 assists on 25 field goals, led by Meehan with eight.
A Trautman 3-pointer with 13:53 to play in the opening half put Lebanon Valley ahead 19-9, and Sean MacIntosh's trifecta three minutes later also put the Dutchmen in front by ten.
Another Trautman three, this one coming with 8:20 on the clock made it a 13-point game, but CUA fought back and scored the next nine to pull within four, 30-26.
Four straight points by the Dutchmen made it an eight-point game, but Dixon hit back-to-back jumpers and a free throw to make the score 34-31 in favor of the home team.
Trautman's layup with 25 ticks to go pushed the Dutchmen's lead to 36-31 and it remained that way when the teams retired for halftime.
NOTES: … CUA finishes the 2010-11 season with a record of 21-9. It marks the 11th time in the last 14 years the Cardinals registered a 20-win season … Sunday was CUA's first ECAC championship game appearance since 2005 … following this weekend Banzhaf concludes his CUA career in third place all-time in scoring with 1,819 points. Banzhaf also has 879 career rebounds, which places him third in school annals. Dixon checks in with 1,175 points, good for 21st place on the school's scoring list … CUA's senior class of Banzhaf, Dixon, Spencer Reed, Ryan Horka, Brian Baker and Ryan Hyland finish their careers with 67 victories.